Venus and Serena Williams made history—yet again—on Monday night in Indian Wells. The sisters faced off at the BNP Paribas Open for the first time ever, 17 years after they were scheduled to play in the semifinals.
In their 29th career meeting, Venus prevailed in two tight sets, 6-3, 6-4.
"I don't think it would have been a surprise if I had have won. So I don't know if it's should have won, should have lost kind of thing," 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena said. "It's always disappointing to me to lose to anyone. But there is a silver lining always for me."
Both sisters arrived to the marquee night match on the same golf cart. The level of intensity and respect coming from both sisters, and both player boxes, was palpable.
"It doesn't feel incredibly different," Serena said. "The last 29 times we have played, I guess, has been professional."
ESPN and Tennis Channel covered the monumental match, and everyone tuned in from world No. 1 Simona Halep to Le'Veon Ball.
I’m salty Serena lost...but then again, I’m happy Venus won...????????????— Le'Veon Bell (@LeVeonBell) March 13, 2018
I've never seen the player's boxes of Venus and Serena so subdued.... almost awkward...tough situation for them, showing respect for both sisters!— Chris Evert (@ChrissieEvert) March 13, 2018
SERENA VS VENUS comin up very soon! ???? Who’s excited?!?! ????????????— Melanie Oudin (@melanie_oudin) March 13, 2018
Wow ???? really solid 1st set from VW vs SW23— Brad Gilbert (@bgtennisnation) March 13, 2018
Venus— Patrick McEnroe (@PatrickMcEnroe) March 13, 2018
The world No. 8-ranked Venus had the advantage of a full year of excellent match play, while Serena was making her first tournament appearance in 14 months.
"I think she's going to be speeding back to the seedings and to winning tournaments sooner than later. That's all I see," Venus said. "I think that's what everybody sees."
Serena's last match before stepping away to give birth to her first daughter was the Australian Open final (which she won over Venus). Serena leads their career head-to-head record 17-12, and Monday marks Venus' first win over her little sister since the 2014 Rogers Cup.
Venus may be 37, but she's still improving, a dangerous fact for her next opponent, Anastasija Sevastova.
"I think my forehand is bigger than ever," Venus said. "Still fast. Honestly it's always about improvement.
"[Serena and I] have both improved. That's just hands down. You have to if you want to stay relevant."
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