Williams sisters starting to dominate WTA

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The Independent Online

Just as Richard Williams forecast long before his daughters became stars, the WTA is becoming the Williams Tennis Association.

Just as Richard Williams forecast long before his daughters became stars, the WTA is becoming the Williams Tennis Association.

"We're just trying to go one match at a time, one tournament at a time, until we can get the top spots," Serena Williams said after extending the family winning streak to four by winning the estyle.com Classic over the weekend. "We're just going for it."

They seem to be there right now, and the WTA - officially the Women's Tennis Association - says it's the first time sisters have won four consecutive tournaments.

Venus Williams, 20, is ranked third in the world, and 18-year-old Serena is seventh. That's based on a point system, and the sisters haven't played in enough tournaments to be rated higher.

Venus missed significant playing time due to tendinitis in both wrists, and a knee injury caused Serena to be sidelined for more than two months before she returned to play at Wimbledon.

The injuries have limited their participation, and outside of Grand Slam events, it's rare for both to play in the same tournament.

Following her long layoff, Serena won her first five matches at Wimbledon in straight sets before losing to her sister in the semifinals.

In winning at the Manhattan Country Club in her first tournament since Wimbledon, Serena rallied to defeat top-ranked Martina Hingis in the semifinals and No. 2 Lindsay Davenport in the finals.

"If I'm off six weeks, I can come back and win," Serena said. "I like taking time off."

Now, she said, the pressure's on, thanks to Venus' three straight tournament victories.

"I'm trying," she said. "Venus won the first two events (after Wimbledon), it's up to me to win the next two. I'm off to a good start."

Serena will play in the du Maurier Open at Montreal this week, while Venus takes another week off. Then, Venus will defend her title at New Haven, Connecticut, with Serena on the sidelines.

Both will play in the U.S. Open, which begins August 28. Serena is defending singles champion. Then it's on to the Olympics in Sydney, where Venus will play singles and the sisters will team in doubles.

Following her victory over Serena at Wimbledon, Venus topped Davenport in straight sets in the finals for her first Grand Slam victory, then won the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford, California, and the Acura Classic in Carlsbad, California.

In the Bank of the West event, Venus overpowered Davenport 6-1, 6-4 in the finals.

"They hit the ball hard and serve very well," Davenport said following her narrow loss to Serena on Sunday. "They're tough. They have a lot of similarities to their game.

"Right now, Venus is more consistent. Serena was more consistent last summer. They both have such dangerous games."

And they're both so much more athletic than their opposition.

"Venus moves better than Serena," Hingis said. "Serena serves better. Both are fun to play. Venus plays more of a mental game, lulls you into a rally and then puts it away. Serena just goes for every shot."

Serena said having Venus as her sister helps, since they play each other so often in practice.

"It's like playing against the best all the time," she said. "We're just real competitors, we're good players."

Serena won the U.S. Open last year for her only Grand Slam title. It was a victory she predicted beforehand.

Asked about this year, she smiled and said, in an obvious reference to herself: "You know who I think is going to win - the lady in purple."

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