Venus advances at Open, might face Serena

Venus Williams has advanced to the US Open quarter-finals, and a possible showdown with calendar Grand Slam-seeking sister Serena, by defeating 152nd-ranked Estonian teen qualifier Anett Kontaveit 6-2 6-1 Sunday.

Venus, matching her deepest Grand Slam run since making the 2010 US Open semi-finals, next faces the winner of a later match at Arthur Ashe Stadium between her younger sister and US 19th seed Madison Keys.

Serena, who holds all four major tennis titles, is trying to complete the first calendar Grand Slam since Steffi Graf in 1988 and match Graf’s Open Era record of 22 career Slam singles titles by capturing her Open Era record seventh US Open crown.

But Venus, two years older than Serena at 35, could play the spoiler to the history chase as she tries to add to a trophy collection that includes the 2000 and 2001 US Opens and five Wimbledon titles, the most recent in 2008.

“Awesome. It has been awesome,” Venus said when asked about her sibling rivalry.

“I’m so proud of Serena and I think she’s proud of me. We inspire each other.

“I hope we can play in the quarter-finals.”

Serena leads the sibling rivalry 15-11 but they have split four US Open meetings, including the 2001 and 2002 finals.

Serena won their most recent matchup in the fourth round at Wimbledon in July.

Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard, who suffered a head injury after slipping in the US Open locker room late Friday, was set to face Italy’s Roberta Vinci in a later last-16 match.

The winner will meet either Russian 13th seed Ekaterina Makarova or France’s Kristina Mladenovic in the quarter-finals.

Venus, who lost the 1997 US Open final to Martina Hingis when Kontaveit was 21 months old, broke in the fourth game and and again in the eighth, Kontaveit hitting a forehand long to drop the set after 24 minutes.

Kontaveit, who lost in the first round at the past two Wimbledons in her only prior Grand Slam appearances, swatted a forehand beyond the baseline to give Venus a 2-0 lead in the second set and sent a backhand long to surrender a break for a 4-0 deficit. Williams held twice more, denying the European’s lone break point in the final game to win in 50 minutes.

“Experience helped a lot,” Williams said. “I was able to understand what it’s like to play in this moment more than she was.”

Kontaveit, 19, was thwarted in her bid to match the best US Open qualifier showing, American Barbara Gerken’s quarter-final run in 1981.

Even with the loss, Kontaveit will nearly double her career prize money with $213,575 for her US Open run.

Serena has won her past 15 finals, last losing to Victoria Azarenka at Cincinnati in 2013, and her past eight Grand Slam finals, last losing to Australian Samantha Stosur at the 2011 US Open, her last defeat in New York.

She has won 24 consecutive US Open matches and is on a 31-match Grand Slam win streak. Her five titles and 51 match wins pace the WTA this year.

The Wimbledon victory that completed her second “Serena Slam” also made her the oldest woman to win a major title at 33.

Keys lost to Serena in the semi-finals of this year’s Australia Open.

Vinci hopes to match her best Grand Slam showings from 2012 and 2013 by reaching the US Open quarter-finals.

She downed Bouchard 6-1, 6-0 in a New Haven opener two weeks ago in their first-ever meeting.

Bouchard, a French and Australian Open semi-finalist last year who lost the 2014 Wimbledon final to Petra Kvitova, added her head injury to a season of setbacks, including first-round French Open and Wimbledon exits and a 12-17 record.

Left-hander Makarova, a semi-finalist at this year’s Australian Open and last year’s US Open, skipped doubles at this year’s US Open for the first time in 30 Grand Slam events since the 2008 Australian Open.

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