Serena and Venus Williams Fulfil Father's Dream
Thu Jun 6, 2:46 PM ET
By Ossian Shine
PARIS (Reuters) - For years dismissed as a fantasist and braggart, Richard Williams was proved a visionary and tennis prophet Thursday when his daughters Venus and Serena set up an all-Williams French Openfinal.
The sisters also became the number one and two tennis players in the world.
Williams senior was not at Roland Garros to see his wild prediction of world domination finally come true, but Serena clinched it with a 3-6 7-6 6-2 semi-final victory over Jennifer Capriati to ensure she joins her sister at the top of the tennis pile Monday.
"I'm pretty happy right now," she smiled afterwards. "Our dad is a smart guy... he knows our abilities and he has worked with us so much over the years -- he knows what we are capable of.”
"You know, when you're young, you always dream of winning grand slams and being number one.
I gotta say, I never dreamed of being number two, though."
The victory means Serena leapfrogs Capriati into second place -- Venus, who made short work of Argentine Clarisa Fernandez 6-1 6-4 in the other semi-final, was already assured number one spot before heading into Thursday's match.
The sibling domination in Paris this year rewrites French history too, ensuring a first-ever all-sister Roland Garros final.
The occasion was not lost on Serena.
Having clawed her way back from a set down to seal the 132-minute win, she dropped her racket, blew kisses to the crowd and shrugged in disbelief as the crowd erupted.
"I definitely want to win a grand slam," she said. "I want it so much, but I'm not saying too much because I don't want Venus reading my interview transcript and then going home to think about it."
The pair are no strangers to smashing records.
Last year Venus beat Serena in the final of the U.S. Open -- the first all-sister grand slam final since Maud and Lilian Watson played at Wimbledon in 1884.
Whichever daughter triumphs Saturday, the sisters' father and coach will no doubt enjoy one of his trademark cigars when news reaches him at his Florida home.
When Williams senior first started spouting his claims of world domination to then-local Californian newspapers, readers must have laughed.
Nobody will be laughing at him now, though. Already with five grand slam titles between them -- and another guaranteed -- the girls who Richard coached on the gang-ridden courts of Compton, California, have made his dream come true.
Serena: Venus clash just like any other
Thur June 6, 2002 08:35PM Yahoo UK! News
Serena Williams has promised to play a true match after setting up a fantasy French Open final with sister Venus.
Seeking her second Grand Slam title, after the US Open three years ago, Serena ended the challenge of defending champion Jennifer Capriati.
And Venus trounced unseeded Argentinian Clarisa Fernandez to ensure, for the first time, the pair will be number one and two in the world on Monday - Venus top with Serena chasing.
They have met before in high-profile matches which have failed to meet expectations, but Serena pledged to give her all for victory this weekend.
"It will be tough to meet Venus again but this time I want to win," she added.
"Before it was hard to play against her because we are sisters, but now it's like any other game.
"Neither of us ever won here at Roland Garros and I want it to be me this time, but I am sure she wants victory as much as me. “
"Obviously my tennis is a lot better than last year, but we are both playing great on clay at the moment and we'll have to keep our focus."
Venus ended the stunning run of Clarisa Fernandez, a third-round conqueror of last year's runner-up Kim Clijsters.
"I never felt like I was going to lose the match," she said. "But for her (Fernandez) it might have been hard to play a semi-final here for the first time. I think she is a good player and she has to build on it."
Of the sisters' domination, she added: "It is nice to be number one and two - we were not especially aiming at that, we just wanted to do well. Now the final will be so much sweeter because of that.
"These rankings mean that we've reached the best of our profession and we take a lot of pride in what we do. “
"I am glad to be number one and I would like to stay there as long as possible but it would be nice to see Serena be on top too at some point."
Capriati toppled as Williams sisters begin reign
by Francois Thomazeau Thur June 6, 2002 08:28PM
PARIS (Reuters) - Jennifer Capriati lost more than just a match when she handed her French Open crown to a yet unknown successor named Williams.
Her 3-6 7-6 6-2 loss to Serena, the fourth in succession, means Capriati has also been dislodged from the top spot as both Williams sisters will now be ranked number one and two in the world on Monday when the new WTA standings are issued.
Irrespective of who wins Sunday's final, Venus is certain to be number one while Serena will be second.
Tailored by their father Richard for world domination, opponents will find it difficult to displace the Williams sisters now that their "inevitable" rise to the top has begun.
"You've got to give them credit. Inevitable? There are lots of things that have happened that kind of made them in this position of one and two," said Capriati, who will be ranked third under the new standings.
"You know they were pretty good with planning things. I don't know if it was like that. But I mean, they're just having a good year this year, and we'll see if they stay on top."
The Australian Open champion also seemed to imply that there had been a carefully planned scheme plotted by Richard Williams to take them that far.
"It's just kind of funny the way it's worked out sometimes. You know, one plays, one doesn't," said the 26-year-old.
"You would think maybe it was just a little more planning behind that," she added, backing rumours that the sisters had sometimes let the other win on instructions from their father.
She also implied, a little ungraciously, that Serena and Venus might not have achieved their current results had Martina Hingis and Lindsay Davenport not been injured.
Hingis and Davenport both had operations this year and missed the Roland Garros event.
"It's definitely gone in their favour in that respect," she said.
But Capriati was forced to admit that she had been beaten by a better player than she is at the moment.
"There was not really much that I could do. Against her, it's like every point is important.
If it was not so intense and so close, the little mistakes you make would not really matter.
I don't think I played that badly. I really must give it to her that she played well," she said reluctantly.
"Against her, you cannot play your relaxed game. You feel more tense than you would any other time."
But she insisted that the loss of her number one status did not affect her that much.
"I want to win more matches, more tournaments and grand slams. With that comes the number one ranking. I just try to look at that instead of the ranking," she said.
From NYPOST.com 06/06 16:21:50 ET
It'll be an all-Williams French Open final
Paris, France (Sports Network) - The powerful Williams sisters -- Venus and Serena -- recorded semifinal victories Thursday to set-up Saturday's all- sibling final at the 2002 French Open.
In the marquee round-of-four matchup, Serena outlasted fellow American Jennifer Capriati to reach her first-ever French Open final. And in the second semi of the day, the second-seeded Venus dispatched unseeded Argentinean Clarisa Fernandez in straight sets.
The third-seeded Serena dropped the opening set before rebounding for a 3-6, 7-6 (7-2), 6-2 victory over Capriati at a jam-packed Court Chatrier.
Capriati was the No. 1 seed and defending champion, having beaten Belgian Kim Clijsters in last year's French Open final.
The Serena-Capriati encounter heated up in the second set when Capriati overcame a 2-5 deficit by winning four straight games to assume a 6-5 edge. Capriati broke Serena's serve to tie the set at 5-5, and then held serve for the lead, but Serena was able to hold onto her serve to force the tiebreak, which she secured handily by winning the last four points, clinching it on a Capriati double fault.
In the third set, Serena took control by breaking for a 4-2 advantage, and broke once again to close out the match at 6-2.
Serena needed 2 hours, 15 minutes to prevail, which she did despite committing 80 unforced errors, compared to 68 for Capriati. Both players recorded five breaks of serve, while Serena ripped four aces to Capriati's zero. Serena enjoyed 18 break-point opportunities on Capriati's less-than-world-class serve.
"She plays the key points better than she used to and there's not so much a lack of concentration," Capriati said of Serena. "She plays more aggressive and earns the points. It was a matter of who hit the better first shot and she did that a lot today."
The 20-year-old Serena improved to 6-4 lifetime against Capriati, including wins in the last five matches and a perfect 4-0 record against her compatriot this season. Serena defeated Capriati in finals in Scottsdale and Miami and also captured a semifinal showdown at the recent clay-court Italian Open, which Serena went on to win.
The 26-year-old Capriati had won three of the last five Grand Slam tournaments, having claimed back-to-back Australian Opens.
Serena will appear in her third career "major" final, having captured the 1999 U.S. Open and lost to Venus in last year's first-ever all-sister title match at Flushing Meadows. The sisters will meet in a Grand Slam final for the second time in nine months.
The red-hot Serena already owns three titles this season, having beaten Capriati en route to all three, and has hoisted 14 singles trophies to this point in her blossoming career.
Prior to this year, Serena's best-ever showing at Roland Garros came in the form of a quarterfinal appearance last year, when she lost to Capriati, who also went on to upend Serena in the quarters at Wimbledon.
Capriati hasn't captured a title since nailing down her second straight Aussie Open crown back in January.
The reigning two-time Wimbledon and U.S. Open champion Venus cruised against the upstart Fernandez, 6-1, 6-4, on Chatrier. The match was over in 56 minutes and featured seven service breaks by a determined Venus.
The 21-year-old Venus and 20-year-old Fernandez had never met on court prior to Thursday.
This marks Venus' first-ever French Open final and her sixth Grand Slam championship match (4-1). She is 4-1 in her 2002 finals, while Serena is 3-1.
The sisters have met seven times, with Venus holding a 5-2 advantage, but Serena whipped Venus 6-2, 6-2 in a semifinal showdown in Miami back in March.
Venus is seeking the fifth "major" title and 26th overall singles crown of her career. She captured an Olympic gold medal two years ago in Sydney.
The soon-to-be world No. 1 Venus has yet to drop a set at this Parisian fortnight.
When the new WTA rankings are released next week, Venus and Serena will sit one-two on the ledger, which means for the first time ever sisters, and African-Americans, will hold down the top spots.
The 2002 women's French Open champion will pocket $586,618.
Venus, Serena to Face Off in Final
Thu Jun 6, 6:55 PM ET
By HOWARD FENDRICH, AP Tennis Writer
PARIS (AP) - A Williams is No. 1, a Williams is No. 2, and the French Open final is Williams vs. Williams.
How's that for fulfilling a father's prophecy?
Serena Williams tossed her racket 10 feet in the air after outlasting defending champion Jennifer Capriati 3-6, 7-6 (2), 6-2 in a baseline bashfest. Just 1 hours later, older sister Venus Williams simply smiled and waved after powering past Clarisa Fernandez 6-1, 6-4 in Thursday's second semifinal.
"History is definitely being made," Serena said. "Hopefully, one of us will win the French Open. Well, obviously, one of us will win the French Open."
When the new WTA Tour rankings are released Monday, they'll be the first siblings to sit 1-2: Serena's semifinal victory pushes her past Capriati to a career-best second, while Venus already was assured of overtaking Capriati at No. 1.
Not once in the 20th century did siblings meet for a Grand Slam title; now it's about to happen for the second time in nine months. Venus whipped Serena 6-2, 6-4 in September's U.S. Open final, the first at a major between sisters since Wimbledon in 1884.
That lackluster match was typical of their encounters. The sisters never play as well against each other as they do against everyone else.
"We've reached the best of our profession," said Venus, who holds a 5-2 edge in family faceoffs. "Actually, I'd like to stay No. 1, but I'd like to see Serena No. 1, also. I'm not giving it up, but I'm sure she'll get there."
Their father, Richard Williams, long has predicted — to the scoffing of some — that his daughters eventually would collect a bunch of major titles and be Nos. 1 and 2. Williams, who didn't make the trip to Paris, learned the game from magazines and videos so he could coach his girls, and he likes to say he knew when Venus was 4 she would be a star.
"Serena will be the best on the WTA Tour," he said in 1998. "But Venus has a lot of pride and nothing will get in the way of her getting to No. 1 first."
After Saturday's final, the family total will rise to six Grand Slam singles titles. Serena got the first, at the 1999 U.S. Open, while Venus has won both Wimbledon and the U.S. Open the past two years.
Neither had been past the quarterfinals at the French Open before, but they've been tremendous this time. Venus has lost just 29 games in six matches, while Serena stopped Capriati's 12-match Grand Slam winning streak.
Venus needed just 19 minutes to win the first set against the 87th-ranked Fernandez — the first unseeded semifinalist at Roland Garros since Capriati in 1990 — and didn't allow a single winner by the Argentine until late in the match.
It was a lopsided undercard after the Main Event.
Serena-Capriati was magical at times and emotional throughout, with both players pumping fists, yelling at themselves, and producing stellar strokes.
The tenor of the match was established on the last point of the fourth game. There were enough shots to fill a highlight film, including saves of a lob and a net cord, until Serena's drop-shot try fell short. When the point ended, Serena took a knee at the baseline and put her racket on the ground, like a batter in the on-deck circle, and Capriati grabbed the top of the net and leaned on it.
The normally tireless Capriati — she won last year's final 12-10 in the third set, and erased a final-record four match points in rallying to win the Australian Open in January — wore down. At 6-5 in the second set, she had a ball boy take her racket to her chair and bring her a new one.
Serena took command of the tiebreaker by stringing together a 106-mph ace, a 116-mph service winner, and a sharply angled backhand to get to 6-2. Capriati then double faulted.
Serena went up 4-2 in the final set by converting her sixth break point when Capriati erred with a drop shot on the rally's 20th stroke.
"When every point means so much, you can't really afford to make mistakes," said Capriati, who's lost five straight matches against Serena. "That probably put more pressure on both of us, too. You feel more tense."
Indeed, Serena had 76 unforced errors — "That's scary!" she said — and Capriati 60. Tellingly, Capriati's 10 groundstroke winners were 18 fewer than Serena's.
Before the women took over Center Court, the men's quarterfinals were completed.
Andre Agassi 's bid for an eighth major title was ended by 11th-seeded Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain; Marat Safin eliminated Sebastien Grosjean; and Alex Corretja ,last year's runner-up, completed a victory over Andrei Pavel, who had just 3 hours of sleep after returning from Germany on Wednesday night following the birth of his son. Their match was stopped because of darkness Tuesday.
On Friday, Ferrero will play in his third straight French Open semifinal, facing Safin, the only man to make the semis at the last three majors. Corretja plays Albert Costa in an all-Spanish semifinal.
It's the second time since 1998 that a trio of Spaniards made the semis.
Not too shabby. But how about two players from one family in a final?
It's enough to make a mother wonder how to root. While Richard Williams Oracene Williams wouldn't take sides Thursday, she was leaning one way.
"This time, maybe, I don't know, I'd like Serena to get (a Grand Slam title), because she hasn't got one since '99," she said after watching her daughters' matches, "and that's what she wants so bad."
Notes: Serena beat Venus 6-2, 6-2 in their last meeting, at Key Biscayne, Fla., in March. ... Venus, who turns 22 on June 17, is 15 months older than Serena.
Williamses Face Off in French Open
Fri Jun 7, 3:36 AM ET
By RICK GANO, AP Sports Writer
PARIS (AP) - When her daughters walk on court, head to the opposite sides of the net and start playing for another Grand Slam title, Oracene Williams plans to be as impartial as possible.
Venus and Serena Williams already have made tennis history, and they'll add to it Saturday when they meet for the French Open championship.
"This time, maybe, I don't know, I'd like Serena to get (a Grand Slam title) because she hasn't got one since '99," Oracene Williams said. "And that's what she wants so bad."
Serena, surprisingly, became the first Williams to carry home a Grand Slam trophy by winning the 1999 U.S. Open, but Venus has won both Wimbledon and the U.S. Open the last two years.
Last September in the first meeting between siblings at a Grand Slam since 1884, Venus beat her sister and best friend 6-2, 6-4 in the final.
Venus, 10 days shy of her 22nd birthday, is leaner and longer at 6-foot-1; Serena, 20, is more powerful and athletic at 5-8. Both can cut off balls in all corners, especially on the slower clay, and send them back with great force, followed by loud grunts.
"I guess we'll be running down a lot of balls," Venus said after both sisters made their first Roland Garros final Thursday.
"Venus pretty much gets every ball and I pretty much get every ball," Serena said, agreeing with her older sister.
"I think on this surface it's going to be maybe longer rallies than in the past. But that will probably be the only difference I can think of."
And they make fashion statements on the court — Venus with a butterfly barrette in her hair, Serena with knee-high yellow socks or maybe a tiara the one that came tumbling out during a point Thursday in her victory over defending champion Jennifer Capriati.
Making their Saturday title match even more compelling is this: Venus will be No. 1 and Serena No. 2 when next week's ranking are released. Just as their father, Richard, predicted they would be years ago.
Serena beat Capriati 3-6, 7-6 (2), 6-2 in one semifinal, assuring she will take over as No. 2. Venus, who moved easily past unseeded Clarisa Fernandez 6-1, 6-3, was assured of taking over the top spot when she reached the fourth round.
It will mark the first time siblings have been ranked 1-2, but breaking new ground is nothing new for them.
"More than anything, it just means we've reached the best of our profession," said Venus, who leads the all-sister series 5-2, although Serena won the last match in March at the Nasdaq-100.
"Actually, I'd like to stay No. 1, but I'd like to see Serena No. 1, also," Venus added. "I'm not giving it up, but I'm sure she'll get there."
As powerful and talented as the Williams have been during their relatively short careers, their mother offers an opinion that should scare the rest of the tennis world.
"They really haven't played up to their potential," Oracene Williams said. "They just haven't gotten there yet."
Sister vs. Sister could be great
Venus and Serena Williams to play for French title
From Msnbc.com Chris Evert NBC Sports
PARIS, June 6 — It’s been an amazing French Open for both Venus and Serena Williams, who will square off in what I feel could be a great ladies’ singles title match on Saturday. With their superb play here, the two rising stars have become the first sister combination to attain the No. 1 and No. 2 world rankings and the first African-American players to do so.
SERENA MUST SHOW UP AGAINST VENUS
Nine months ago at the U.S. Open, Venus and Serena achieved a historic first by reaching the final, which was a star-studded affair off-court, but not exactly a memorable match, as Serena was nervous and Venus ran right through her.
I suspect that their Saturday final at Roland Garros will be played at a higher level because Serena says she’s tired of just being the little sister and is ready to bring out her “A’ game against Venus.
Plus, the match will be played on clay, which should guarantee longer rallies and a chance for the Parisian fans to delight in the girls’ amazing athleticism. It could be the greatest match in history, but to become that it will have to break from the past history between the sisters. To date, none of their seven matches have been well played (Venus owns a 5-2 record against Serena). Let’s hope that on the red clay we see them both at the top of their games. Great tennis would be the result.
DISPLAYING THE HEART OF A CHAMPION
In Serena’s semifinal today against Jennifer Capriati, I gave the edge going in to Capriati, who won the French last year. For nearly two sets, it looked like my prediction would come true. But Serena prevailed with an emotional 3-6, 7-6 (2), 6-2 victory.
Both women opened up their lungs and ran circles around the court, never giving up on a ball. Like in their previous matches, they blasted big balls from the baseline and tested resolves in long rallies. Serena was slightly more powerful in the first set, but fell apart on the big points, while Capriati seemed to know when she needed to size up an important point.
After dropping the first set, the 20-year-old Serena put her head down and charged out to a 5-2 lead in the second. But Capriati wouldn’t quit and raised her game to another level, throwing her body all over the place to chase down Serena’s clever shots. Capriati had the crowd and the momentum in her corner and really needed to win the match before it went into the tiebreaker.
Capriati appeared to have the match in hand at 6-5, but Serena took it up another level and left Capriati in the dust.
SERENA’S MATURATION WAS EVIDENT
Serena didn’t get tight like she did in last year’s U.S. Open final and she closed out the tiebreaker like a true champion. In the third set, Serena kept humming balls toward the corners while Capriati was too tired to put up much of a struggle. Serena then closed out the match just like she wanted to, ripping a backhand crosscourt winner.
I was very impressed by Serena’s mental toughness, the way she maintained her aggressiveness even when she went through patchy spots and how well she served the big points in the second and third sets. She needed to prove herself at Grand Slams and she certainly did that today.
If Capriati wants to stay with the Williams’ sisters, she’s going to have to improve her serve, not be afraid of coming to net against them and be more aggressive when the match is nearly in hand.
VENUS HAD AN EASIER TIME OF IT
Venus wasn’t pushed nearly as hard as Serena was in her 6-1, 6-4 win over unseeded Clarisa Fernandez, but as she has done for most of the past year, Venus nailed the door shut when her opponent had an opening.
It looks like Venus and Serena’s father, Richard, was right all along when he said more than a decade ago when the girls were still in pigtails that they would be the two best players in the world someday. That day looks like it may just have arrived.
NYTimes.com: In Paris, Serena Williams Shows Composure
June 9, 2002
By SELENA ROBERTS
PARIS, June 8 — Of the two, Serena Williams was always the one without a gatekeeper on her emotions when placed in the awkward position of playing her older sister.
It was hard to forget: Venus was the one she always leaned on as a child; the one who gave up her milk money when Serena lost hers; the one with the stoic veneer of a bodyguard.
Today, the Williams sisters reversed roles. Serena held on, while Venus came undone. Once the last unsteady backhand by Venus plunged into the net on the 15th stroke of match point, Serena bent over in pure relief, winning the French Open, 7-5, 6-3, and taking her first major title since the 1999 United States Open.
"I was really fighting for this for so long," Serena said. "At one point, I wouldn't get past the quarters; then I got to the final, maybe a semi here and there. But it was just kind of discouraging. I didn't want to be a one-hit wonder."
With four majors of her own to soothe her, Venus's brush with disappointment today was brief, if there was any at all. Once Serena hopped on the podium to embrace the silver trophy, Venus joyfully scampered to the players' box to grab her mother's camera.
In the mosh pit of photographers lined up at the net, there was Venus, the responsible one, snapping pictures, making sure her sister's moment was captured for the family album. In the Williams household, everyone wins.
"I try not to be sad about my losses," Venus said. "I'm happy for Serena because she hasn't won a Slam in a while."
As usual with an all-Williams competition, it was not an eye-pleasing match, not with 101 unforced errors and 14 double faults between them, but there was the curiosity factor that exists whenever the sisters meet.
One day, the intrigue of the odd may wear off. And one day, they may both unleash their best against each other. Today, it seemed as if Venus played with some subconscious sympathy pains for Serena. For whatever reason, she could not find the same form that carried her through the tournament. Usually, her serve lands with the weight of a piano falling through the sky. Against Serena, she made only 52 percent of her first serves and uncorked nine double faults.
"I just think I wasn't the best player today," Venus said. "I think I've had better appearances in my Grand Slam finals. But it's impossible to win them all."
At least history will have some variety. This was only the third time sisters have met in a major final. The Watson sisters faced off at Wimbledon in 1884, long before Venus and Serena met at the 2001 United States Open.
In that match, Serena went down in a heap, too nervous to deliver. Today, she wore a cooler demeanor. Down by 3-5 in the first set, Serena regrouped and began to get more depth on her shots, mixed in with some net appearances. She put pressure on Venus. Uncharacteristically, Venus began mistiming the most routine shots.
One unsightly swing was very costly. In the 10th game of the first set, faced with a break point on her serve, Venus clobbered a swinging forehand volley that went wide at an almost impossible angle. Somehow she missed an entire court. Suddenly, Serena was ahead by 6-5. Calming herself, she was able to serve out the first set, ending it with a cross-court forehand winner and a fist pump.
"I think Serena knew she had to get that one," said Oracene Williams, Venus and Serena's mother. "I think she knew she had to do well in the second set, too. She knew Venus could come back. So it was do or die."
Venus gave Serena life by opening the second set with a thud. She lost her serve two straight times, double-faulting to provide her little sister with a 3-0 cushion.
Serena hardly looked back. She took a deep breath and finished off her big sister, making her pay for her tentative strokes.
"I don't know where I found the calm," Serena said. "I just knew I had to do it. I really wanted this so badly. I was like, just come on and do it."
No matter who wins, it's never a comfortable process. When it's over, they return to their sisterly roles. A match between Venus and Serena is always gently punctuated. No one has ever leapt or screamed in victory.
On match point of their 2000 Wimbledon semifinal, Serena double-faulted as an abrupt end to an awkward match. Anchored to a worn patch of grass on the baseline, she finally snapped out of her disbelief and slowly moved toward the net, using her fingertips to dam her tears.
As Venus and Serena exited under the uneasy applause of Center Court, Venus helped her little sister gather her things before slinging her arm around Serena, whispering, "Let's get out of here."
Venus's instincts had also been transparent at the 2001 United States Open. Beneath the trumpets and fireworks in place for the first prime-time final of a women's major, Venus remained as grounded as usual. As she approached the net as the United States Open winner, Venus embraced Serena and said "I love you" into her ear.
Their matches don't produce compelling tennis, but their relationship has provided a glimpse at the healthy bonds of sisterhood.
"An example is when she stole my toothpaste," Venus said. "I had no toothpaste. I was fighting for my life in the mornings and at night. So, I'd have to go all the way to her room, get the toothpaste, put a little on my thumb, go back and brush my teeth.
"I didn't take the bottle back because I figured, `If I take it back, she won't have any.' "
They were also raised to win, to believe no one was better than they were, to believe they were entitled to the same success as anyone else. Although they are separated, Richard and Oracene pulled together to build up their daughters' confidence when they were children.
"It's like my mom and dad always taught us, `When you shake someone's hand, shake it firm,' " Venus said. "Really, if they hadn't told me that, I just wouldn't know what to do."
Today, Oracene was in the stands, wearing designer shades, smiling through every point.
She was enjoying this from the start. Like everyone else, she wanted to see if Serena could do it, if she could hold it together just long enough to win her second major, if she could forget she was playing her big sister.
"She wanted it more," Oracene said. "It had been too long."
In 11 of the 12 last majors, including eight straight, an American woman has been in the final. The last time American women were so dominant was from 1983 to 1986, when MARTINA NAVRATILOVA combined with CHRIS EVERT to win 11 straight and 15 of 16. . . . By reaching the final, VENUS WILLIAMS passed $10 million in career prize money.
USA's Serena Williams poses with the cup at the Arc de Triomphe Saturday June 8, 2002 in Paris after winning the women's French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium. Serena Williams defeated her sister Venus 7-5, 6-3.