They arrived at this 26th meeting, the first since last summer, with younger sister Serena ranked No1 by such a margin that she was already a qualifier for the WTA Championships at the end of the year.
But, after regularly duelling for the sport’s top prizes – they have played in eight major finals – this was only the third clash of the Williams clan in the last six years, their earliest ever at Wimbledon, and their first Grand Slam showdown since the 2009 Wimbledon final won by Serena.
In a rematch of their previous USA Open final, Serena was chasing history as she wanted to be the first to win all four grand slams back to back. The Russian cruised into the last eight, beating unseeded Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan 6-4, 6-4.
The impressive Serena earned another two break points at the start of set two with a sublime forehand victor, but veteran Venus – who had the majority of the crowd on her side – refused to lie down and showed great character to hold.
When they’re across the net from each other, it can be awkward for everyone involved – the sisters themselves, of course, but also their parents, their sisters and even their coaches.
Williams is a five-time Wimbledon champion and is heading toward a true Grand Slam after winning the first two majors of the year. Serena has had 13 or less unforced errors in two of her four matches. Their fourth-round match was suspended because of darkness after the fourth set and will resume on Court 1.
“But the level she’s playing at is unprecedented”. The only other time they met prior to the quarterfinals of a major was at the 1998 Australian Open.
“She’s a champion. What else could you say about that – the ultimate champion”. “It’s different. Especially when she’s going for something this historic, which is achievable for her”. Azarenka beat 18-year-old Belinda Bencic of Switzerland 6-2, 6-3, but is 0-9 against Williams in Grand Slam events. And the match lacked the usual roars and swinging fist pumps that have always been Serena’s hallmark.
Vandeweghe upsetting French Open runner-up Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic in straight sets, dominating both tiebreakers to win 7-6 (1), 7-6 (4) after the players traded breaks once in each set.
With their rivalry now into its 17th year, do the sisters enjoy playing each other? It came a bit early as it was in the quarterfinal, and Serena would trounce her sister 7-6(6), 7-6(7) before winning it all. I had to take chances.
The 23-year-old next faces fourth seed Maria Sharapova, the 2004 champion.
With both playing at their peak Monday, it was Serena advancing with the 6-4, 6-3 victory.
Garbine Muguruza upset Caroline Wozniacki in the fourth round and the Spaniard will again be the underdog against Timea Bacsinszky, the Swiss player who reached the French Open semifinals this year.
“But now I was thinking, I’m playing a tough opponent”.
Radwanska, the 2012 Wimbledon runner-up, overcame the popular 28th seed Jelena Jankovic 7-5 6-4 in one hour and 43 minutes. Pospisil – the third Canadian man to reach the quarterfinals at Wimbledon, after Robert Powell (1908, ’10, ’12) and Milos Raonic (2014) – will play Murray next.