Watch Venus and Serena face off in Indian Wells—with Lindsay Davenport and Ted Robinson calling the action LIVE—tonight on Tennis Channel: 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.
When the women’s draw for the BNP Paribas Open was made last week, all eyes were on a potential third-round clash between the Williams sisters. And now, after two wins from Serena and one from the No. 8-seeded Venus—who got a bye in the first round—that dream match is reality.
Here are 10 things to know about Serena and Venus’ blockbuster clash at Indian Wells on Monday:
1. Their professional rivalry has now lasted more than 20 years. The first all-Williams match came in the second round of the 1998 Australian Open, which Venus won in straight sets, 7-6 (4), 6-1.
Not including two times they met in the round-robin portion of the year-end WTA Finals, their upcoming third-round clash is the earliest they’ve met in a draw since that very first meeting.
2. Serena leads the head-to-head, 17-11. In almost every way you look at that record, Serena still has the advantage: she’s 11-8 on hard courts, 15-11 outdoors and, perhaps most dauntingly, she’s won eight of their last nine meetings. Venus’ only win in the last nine years came in Montreal in 2014.
3. Venus does, however, have some advantages. Not only is Venus currently more match tough—this is her 13th WTA event over the past 12 months, and Serena’s first—but the earlier in the tournament they play each other, the more it has favored Venus. She’s 5-4 against Serena when they meet before the semifinals.
Tennis Channel previews Venus vs. Serena, at Indian Wells:
4. This is their 11th career meeting on American soil. Their other 10 meetings in the U.S. came at Miami (four times), Charleston (once) and the US Open (five times). Serena is 6-4 in those 10 matches.
5. They have won a combined 30 Grand Slam singles titles between them. Serena has 23 career Grand Slam titles—the most in the Open Era, male or female. The last time two women in a singles match had 30 Grand Slam singles titles between them was the 1999 French Open semifinal between Steffi Graf and Monica Seles. Graf had 21 at the time; the German won that match en route to winning her final Grand Slam singles title.
6. Venus has now earned more than $40 million in career prize money. The 37-year-old came into the BNP Paribas Open with $39,957,258 in career earnings, and she assured herself of $47,170 just by making it to the third round. Meanwhile, 36-year-old Serena came into Indian Wells with $84,463,131 and could pass $85 million if she reaches the final. (In case you’re wondering, Serena and Venus are No. 1 and No. 2 on the WTA’s all-time career prize money list.)
TENNIS.com’s Nina Pantic and Tennis Channel’s John Zinni discuss the latest Williams vs. Williams contest, and first at Indian Wells.
7. Serena is looking for her 172nd career Top 10 win. Serena, unseeded at Indian Wells, is 171-67 overall against Top 10 players. That’s the most career Top 10 wins among active players, with Venus next at 134 wins (against 97 losses).
8. Serena has only lost twice before at Indian Wells. She’s 25-2 at this tournament, her only two losses coming against two-time Grand Slam champions in 2000 (Mary Pierce, in the quarterfinals) and 2016 (Victoria Azarenka, in the final). Venus, meanwhile, has a 14-5 career record at this event.
9. If Venus wins, she’ll have to deal with the Serena curse. The last four players to beat Serena all lost their next match. The last time someone beat Serena and then won their next match was at Miami almost two years ago: Svetlana Kuznetsova defeated her in the fourth round, and went on to reach the final.
10. These two have played each other more than anyone else. With 28 previous meetings and a 29th on the way, Venus and Serena never played anyone else as much—Serena’s next-most-played opponents are Azarenka and Maria Sharapova (21 times each) and Venus’ next-most-played opponent is Lindsay Davenport (27 times).
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