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Tennis News• Serena vs. Venus set in Lexington • 31 St. Time • Gauff also advances to second round

Venus and Serena Williams set to meet in Lexington for the 31st time at The Top Seed Open.



By Ricky Dimon

It is not going to take long for the Top Seed Open in Lexington, Kentucky to put the sport of professional tennis back in the spotlight. Just four days into the second week of the WTA Tour’s comeback from a five-month coronavirus hiatus, it will be Serena Williams vs. Venus Williams.

The two Williams sisters won their respective first-round matches on Tuesday and will go head-to-head for the 31st time in their careers on Thursday. After Serena overcame Bernarda Pera 4-6, 6-4, 6-1, Venus Williams coasted past Victoria Azarenka 6-3, 6-2.

Not exactly an easy draw for either player…and especially not for Venus!

Venus Williams in action against Anna Karolina Schmiedlova of Slovakia during a match of day one of the Monterrey Open tennis tournament in Monterrey, Mexico, 02 March 2020.

“One Grand Slam winner, former world No.1, to another,” the 40-year-old said of Azarenka and Serena. “It’s been quite the draw for me, but quite honestly, this is perfect, because I haven’t played in forever, so I want to play the best players. And I think I got my wish playing Serena, so here we go.”

“I feel like I always play Venus in the first or second round of every tournament, so that’s annoying,” Serena said.

Serena leads the head-to-head series 18-12 after most recently dominating 6-1, 6-2 at the 2018 U.S. Open.

The two all-time greats are joined in the last 16 by a potential future star in Coco Gauff. Just 16 years old, Gauff kicked off her Lexington campaign with a 7-5, 7-5 victory over fellow American Caroline Dolehide. Gauff struck eight aces and broke Dolehide four times.

Coco Gauff of the USA reacts during her fourth round match against Sofia Kenin of the USA at the Australian Open tennis tournament at Melbourne Park in Melbourne, Australia, 26 January 2020.

“Honestly, I would give it an A,” the world No. 53 said when asked to grade her performance. “It was my first match back since January, and even though I probably didn’t play the best tennis as possible, I think that the attitude and effort was an A.

“I’m just out here having fun. Obviously, I want to win, but I’m not going to put pressure on myself to win anything. I just try my best out there on the court every day.”

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.