Williams sisters on collision course

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/a/apVenusnserena.jpg' class='caption'> One is the reigning Australian Open champion. The other captured Wimbledon this summer.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:48 IST
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One is the reigning Australian Open champion. The other captured Wimbledon this summer. Between them they won four consecutive US Opens. No wonder Venus Williams gets her motivation from younger sister Serena. "If she wins or loses, I'm extra motivated either way," Venus said on Monday. "When she wins, I definitely want to be like her." Injury worries Both did just that in their first-round matches, Venus defeating Rika Fujiwara of Japan 6-3, 6-1 after Serena got by a surprisingly quick 16-year-old, Yung-Jan Chan of Taiwan, 6-1, 6-3. "I won Wimbledon because I wanted to be like her in Australia," Venus said. "I just want to be like her. But if she loses, then I'm like, `Oh, man, now I have to do it.'" Despite their credentials, neither Williams sister is favored in this year's final Grand Slam tournament. That's because, except for the two majors they won, 2005 has been a so-so year for both sisters, who have been bothered by injuries. But the hard courts of the National Tennis Center are where both have shone. "There's no better stage than the US Open for me," Serena said. "I definitely love it." Serena crushed Chan Serena zipped though her opening set against an obviously nervous Chan, who was making her Grand Slam tournament debut as well as playing in her first WTA Tour event. "I was a little bit nervous," the qualifier said. "It feels good when I play on center court. Then so many people come to watch the match." Chan began finding the range on her backhand and raced out to a 3-0 lead in the second set. She was one point away from a 4-1 advantage when the eighth-seeded Serena picked up her game and the victory, winning the final six games of the match. "I just try to win first point and then second point," Chan said, explaining what happened in the fifth game. "You know, she's Serena." Her postmatch interview concerned her earrings more than her opponent. During the match, Serena took off her $40,000 diamond earrings after one fell off during play. "I didn't put it on tight enough because I was rushing to go out," Serena said. "I was hoping it wouldn't fall, but I knew in the back of my mind it would, and it did. I was like, `OK, I'll just put them on earlier in my next match.'" Venus played without earrings, but did wear a pearl-and-turquoise necklace with gold beads and tourmalines for her match. After explaining her wardrobe, Venus asked what Serena was wearing. When she was told her sister wore such expensive earrings, Venus said: "I guess I shouldn't expect anything less from Serena Williams." Like Chan, Fujiwara played in her first US Open. Unlike Chan, Fujiwara never unveiled any semblance of a game that might threaten her 10th-seeded foe. "Today was a good day," Venus said. "It was windy, so the conditions were a little strange like that. My toss got thrown off." Her opponent also bothered Williams a little. "She played a very aggressive game. I don't think I had an opportunity really to get a rhythm," Venus said. "I would have liked to have hit more balls, but it was OK." Venus will next face Maria Kirilenko of Russia, a 6-2, 6-3 winner over Laura Pous Tio of Spain. Serena's second-round opponent will be Colombia's Catalina Castano, who stopped Russian Alina Jidkova 6-4, 6-3. Fourth round encounter If they continue their winning ways, the sisters would meet in the fourth round. "It definitely could be very soon," Serena said of meeting her sibling, "but the only way to think about it is just play to get there, don't go out before. That's all we can do. There's nothing else I can do except get back to one and two in the world." Even then, the two will continue their mutual admiration society. "No one gets me more motivated than Venus because I don't want her to catch up with me yet," Serena said. "She's at five (Grand Slam tournament titles) now. I still have seven. So I got to keep ahead." "Every single thing she does motivates me," Venus said of her sister. "I guess not every single thing, but at least on the tennis court when she gives her best." (AP)

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