Keeping Score: The Williams sisters face off in U.S. Open quarterfinals

“Keeping Score” is a new weekly sports blog we’ll be running on AfterEllen.com, written by your favorite Lesbian Scientistics expert, Stuntdouble. Check back every Tuesday for her report on women in sports.

Just a few weeks ago in Beijing, Venus and Serena Williams stood hand-in-hand atop the gold medal platform, celebrating their Olympic doubles victory. Now it’s back to opposite sides of the net for a quarterfinal showdown at the U.S. Open. Ah, the uniquely complex relationship between sisters.

Both Venus and Serena dismissed their fourth-round opponents easily in yesterday’s U.S. Open matches. Seventh-seeded Venus trounced Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska 6-1, 6-3 in the afternoon, and fourth-seeded Serena toppled France’s Severine Bremond 6-2, 6-2 in the night game.

“I just feel like, you know, we’re both playing better and feeling better,” Serena said. “We just had a turn in our careers. We’re just playing the way we should play.”

Matches between Venus and Serena are somewhat legendary at the U.S. Open. They swept the women’s singles championships from 1999 to 2002, meeting each other in the finals in 2001 and 2002. In fact, the hype surrounding their matchups pushed tournament organizers to move the women’s final to the Saturday night spot instead of early afternoon, for better television coverage.

There will be no Williams vs. Williams final this year, though. The luck of the draw put the sisters on the same side of the bracket. Their quarterfinal match will, however, be a bit of a tiebreaker.

The sisters have met up 16 times professionally; they’ve each won eight times. They’ve met 10 times in Grand Slam tournaments; they’ve each won five times.

“I would love to have a winning record,” Venus said. “I have a chance.”

When asked to define her rivalry with Venus, Serena called it “unique” and “classic.”

Would she also call it “difficult,” one reporter wanted to know.

“No. Not anymore,” Serena said. “Just another match, another possibility for me.”

Other fourth round advancers on Monday were sixth seed Dinara Safina, who defeated Anna-Lena Groenefeld 7-5, 6-0, and 16th seed Flavia Pennetta who beat Amelie Mauresmo 6-3, 6-0.

USA Network will be covering the quarterfinal action all day Wednesday. The women’s singles final will be broadcast live Saturday night at 8:00 p.m. EST on CBS.

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