It could happen. The match of our dreams. The face-off between the world No. 1 and a former world No. 1, between two of the greatest female tennis players of all time. In other words: Serena and Venus Williams could face each other in the Wimbledon finals.
The sisters — and arguably the patron saints of women’s tennis for the past two decades — are on opposite halves of the bracket, and each have made it through to the semi-finals. Venus, who’s currently ranked No. 9 in the world, has been playing incredible tennis at the age of 36, beating player after player, some of whom are almost half her age.
On Tuesday, Venus continued the roll she’s on, beating Russia’s Yaroslava Shvedova in straight sets, 7-6, 6-2. It’s Venus’ first time in a Grand Slam semi-final since the U.S. Open in 2010. With this win, she has become only the third woman to reach a semi-final after turning 36, joining the legendary ranks of Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova.
And then there’s Serena, the world No. 1 player in women’s tennis, who is also through to the semi-finals. A force to be reckoned with, she beat Russian player Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova on Tuesday 6-4, 6-4. Serena has such complete control over the ball that when, for example, she hit the most perfect drop shot during the second set, it was hard not to laugh. It’s what I imagine watching Michelangelo paint the Sistine Chapel must’ve been like. A true master at work.
Serena is one title away from tying Steffi Graf’s record-setting 22 Grand Slam wins. She hasn’t won a major since Wimbledon last year, but has made it to the finals of the Australian Open and French Open in 2016, losing first to Angelique Kerber and then to Garbiñe Muguruza.
Muguruza is out of Wimbledon, though Kerber could pose a problem — in order to get to the finals, Venus will have to beat her. Serena will face Elena Vesnina, who won against Dominika Cibulková on Tuesday in straight sets.
The competition is stiff, but there’s no reason to believe that Venus and Serena can’t both win their upcoming matches given how well they’ve both been playing. And yet, it feels almost dangerous to dare to dream that they’ll meet in the finals.
Because what an incredible narrative, right? To think that we could get to watch the two sisters who’ve dominated women’s tennis since they stepped onto the court about 20 years ago face off in the Wimbledon finals? Two American sisters, at that? Both well into their 30s, when most players still involved in the sport are either falling in the rankings or coaching the next generation? It’s the stuff of movies. It feels too good to be true.
After Venus won her match on Tuesday, she said, “You can’t always have big moments…I mean if you’re Serena Williams I guess it happens a lot.”
If the Williams sisters meet at the finals, it will be arguably the biggest moment of either of their careers. If Serena wins, she will have tied Graf’s Grand Slam record and beat her own record of being the oldest woman to win a major, which she set last year when she won Wimbledon at 33. If Venus can win, she will add an eighth Grand Slam trophy to her collection and break her own sister’s record by becoming the oldest woman to ever win a major at 36.
“It would be great,” Serena said, when asked about facing Venus after both of their quarter-final wins on Tuesday. “Obviously she’s such a tough opponent, but obviously I want her to win so bad. Well, not in the final if I’m there. But if I’m not there, I desperately want her to win.”
She then had to leave the interview, because she and Venus were about to take the court as doubles partners.