28 Jan 2017

Sibling rivalry revived for Grand Slam final

8:55 pm on 28 January 2017

It is back to the future at the Australian Open tonight where sisters Serena and Venus Williams will clash in a grand slam title decider for an incredible ninth time.

Sernea and Venus Williams pose with their doubles titles at Wimbledon, 2016.

American tennis super stars Serena and Venus Williams pose with their doubles titles last year at Wimbledon. Photo: Getty

Venus needed almost two-and-a-half hours on Thursday to see off compatriot CoCo Vandeweghe 6-7 6-2 6-3 to become the oldest women's finalist in professional tennis history at the age of 36.

Serena, 35, crushed Croatia's Mirjana Lucuc-Baroni 6-2 6-1 in a commanding display to reach the title match.

"It is definitely 100 percent the best-case scenario that I could have ever dreamt of," Serena said.

"I just feel like it's been a while. This probably is the moment of our careers so far. For me, I can definitely say for me.

"I never lost hope of us being able to play each other in a final, although it was hard because we're usually on the same side of the draw.

"Whenever we're on the opposite side, I always definitely feel a lot better."

The all-conquering sisters last squared off for a grand slam crown at Wimbledon in 2009, when Serena prevailed 7-6 6-2.

Serena leads Venus 6-2 in matches played on the sport's four grandest stages and another victory at Melbourne Park - in a repeat of their 2003 final - would give her an unprecedented seventh Australian Open singles title.

Serena and Venus Williams of USA on the podium with their gold medals for the Womens Doubles Tennis at the Sydney Olympics 2000.

Serena and Venus Williams on the podium with their gold medals for the women's doubles at the Sydney Olympics in 2000. Photo: Photosport

Venus has lost seven of her last eight matches against her sister and 16 of their 27 professional encounters.

"For us to both be in the final is the biggest dream come true for us," Serena said.

"I was really proud of Venus. She's another total inspiration, my big sister.

"She's basically my world and my life. She means everything to me and I was so happy for her obviously."

Serena also shares the open-era record of 22 majors with Steffi Graf but can surpass the great German on Saturday and draw to within one of Margaret Court's all-time benchmark of 23 grand slam singles titles.

Serena can also regain her world No 1 ranking - which she has held for a total of 309 weeks - if she dethrones defending champion Angelique Kerber, who crashed out in the fourth round.

But the second seed is taking nothing for granted ahead of what will be her 29th grand slam final.

"She's my toughest opponent. No one's ever beaten me as much as Venus has," Serena said.

"I just feel like no matter what happens, we've won.

"She's been through a lot. I've been through a lot. To see her do so well is great so I look forward to it."

Despite being in the twilight of their careers, the recently engaged Serena is refusing to rule out the sisters setting up a 10th all-Williams grand slam final showdown down the track.

"Never say never," she said. "Look at us now."