Sport

Serena trumps Venus in SA exhibition clash

Jenny Bernstein

True to form, world number three Serena Williams defeated her older sister, Venus, by two sets to love in an exhibition tennis match in Johannesburg.

Venus and Serena Williams. (Gallo)

Fresh from her triumph in the WTA Championships last week, having defeated Maria Sharapova in the final in Istanbul, Serena took the honours against her sibling, winning 6-4, 6-3 after succumbing to Venus in straight sets in an exhibition in Lagos, Nigeria, on Friday.

The American siblings were in South Africa for two days to champion "Breaking the Mould"—an initiative aimed at recognising women who have risen above adversity to succeed and inspire others.

Before the match, the sisters had said they would "go all out" and they delivered on their promise to the delight of their enthusiastic fans at Ellis Park's Indoor Arena.

From the time Sports Minister Fikile Mbabula tossed the coin on Sunday, the spectators were treated to some magnificent tennis. The Williams sisters displayed their skills and prowess on the court while also entertaining and playing to the crowd.

Venus, ranked 24th in the world, started the stronger of the two but Serena seemed to be holding a little back and she made her intentions clear towards the end of the second set.

Serena, fast earning a reputation as a philanthropist, had visited other African nations before, while Venus was visiting the continent for the first time.

Serena's return to form this year saw her triumph at Wimbledon in the women's singles for the fifth time, clinch gold medals in both the singles and doubles at the London Olympics and cap it off with the US Open singles—her 15th Grand Slam title.

Venus, at 32, is no slouch herself with seven slams under her belt, including five Wimbledon singles titles, and still holds the record for the fastest serve ever recorded in women's tennis.

The curtain-raiser featured South Africa's number one male and female wheelchair tennis players. Evans Maripa, partnered by 17-year-old Lynn Kiro, ranked 16th in South Africa, defeated Kgothatso Montjane and Illse Hattingh, the country's top Under-16 and U-18 players, 4-2 in the best of six games. – Sapa

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