A packed schedule of early morning practices and afternoons working in her fashion design firm makes Venus Williams a master of multi-tasking.
Today, Williams managed all challenges realizing a major milestone and the prospect of a sisterly showdown.
On a sticky, sweltering afternoon, the 38-year-old Williams fended off explosive Italian Camila Giorgi, 6-4, 7-5, collecting her 775th career victory and setting the stage for a rematch with sister Serena.
The 2017 semifinalist saved nine of 12 break points, including denying triple break point in the ninth game of the second set.
“I’m pretty pumped to win today against a really inspired opponent,” Williams said in her on-court interview. “Wow, I felt the energy. That Love- 40 game at four-all was not looking good. I said Venus, why are you doing this? But you guys got me through it.”
If the 17th-seeded Serena Williams gets through Carina Witthoeft tonight, the Williams sisters will square off for the second time this year in the US Open third round.
That clash would be the sisters’ 30th encounter and first major meeting since Serena, 6-4, 6-4, in the 2017 Australian Open final when little sister was a few weeks pregnant with daughter Alexis Olympia.
Contesting her 20th US Open, Venus is eager for the rematch.
“The last time we played the Australian Open it was two against one,” Venus joked to ESPN’s Pam Shriver afterward. “At least this time it will be fair. I hope that we get to play.”
Brutal heat and a blistering opponent posed oppressive obstacles for the 38-year-old Williams.
Conditions were tough.
The two-time US Open champion was tougher.
Italian No. 1 Giorgi plays an ultra-aggressive baseline style predicated on fast hands and crunching ground strokes.
Trying to beat Williams to the punch, Giorgi more than doubled the former world No. 1 in winners (29 to 13), but also hurt her cause with 41 unforced errors—11 more than her veteran opponent.
Playing for her 25th career Top 20 victory, Giorgi had opportunities, but Williams played cleaner at crunch time.
Fighting through triple break point to hold for 5-4, Williams pressured the forehand of the lone Italian woman in the draw until it broke down.
The 40th-ranked Giorgi shanked a forehand to face match point then slapped a flat forehand into net as Williams wrapped up a hard-hitting win in one hour, 51 minutes.
Serena Williams holds a 17-12 edge in the sisters’ head-to-head series, however Venus won their most recent meetings, 6-3, 6-4, in the Indian Wells third round in March.
That was their earliest encounter in a tournament since their first professional meeting at the 1998 Australian Open.
Serena concedes she seldom makes eye contact with her older sister when they square off.
“I hate playing her because she gets this look on her face where she just looks sad if she’s losing,” Serena told Vogue Magazine. “Solemn. It breaks my heart. So when I play her now, I absolutely don’t look at her, because if she gets that look, then I’ll start feeling bad, and the next thing you know I’ll be losing. I think that’s when the turning point came in our rivalry, when I stopped looking at her.”