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Good afternoon. The Williams sisters met in Melbourne earlier today. It
was the latest chapter in their remarkable family story. Years ago
on the courts in Compton, California, they were coached by
their father Richard who suggested early on his daughters would go on
to compete in Grand Slam finals. 30 years on, Venus and Serena stand
with 29 majors between and $120 million in prize money. It's an
achievement that must exceed even Richard's high expectations. It's
been an incredible journey. COMMENTATOR: They may well be
sisters but this has become one of tennis 's great rivalries.
It's the Williams sisters day. A remarkable occasion once again for
the Williams sisters. # Will never be defeated. Finally
Venus getting the better of Serena here in the final. It will be an all
Williams sister final once again. STUDIO: They have had their battles
over the years. This is their 28th meeting. It is no great surprise
Serena is competing for the title, but Venus's journey back to the top
has been inspirational. Suffering an autoimmune disorder which saw her
plummet outside the world top 104 years ago, she has never thought of
giving up her dream of competing on the big stage. -- outside the world
top 100, four years ago. Serena is focused on moving ahead of Steffi
Graf on 23 Grand Slam titles. Just one behind Margaret Court. One thing
if the sure, their passion for the sport is as strong as ever. Today
Venus takes on younger sister 35-year-old Serena. Venus is ready
for play. And of course, Serena, a win would see her return to the top
of the world rankings. CHEERING
A huge ovation, and this was the first of two fascinating finals we
are looking forward to in Melbourne this weekend. We can join the final.
There have been two breaks of serve. It is 1-1. Our commentators join us
now. COMMENTATOR: That wasn't a bad
second serve. Double fault. Because of the
pressure put on to the point before. Serena hit that big winner. Went
deep on that second. Fierce hitting! A couple of amazing
lunges to get the ball back into play from Venus Williams. Please
remain quiet during the point. Good luck with that! Alison Hughes from
Great Britain in the umpire's check again for another Australian Open
final. Hello! It's a bit early for that!
She isn't going to finish the job like Wawrinka did the other day. He
got it at 90 degrees like that, then decided to finish the job over his
knee! Unusual to see that from Serena so
early in a match. Very unusual. Talk about tension.
You can see where Venus Williams, well, for both sisters, the first
serve percentage looks like it's going to be very important. Every
time a second serve comes in, both Serena and Venus are going for that
first strike winner. Didn't get the feet moving on that
one. We just saw that picture of the
coach of Venus Williams. You imagine both coaches saying the night before
the match, everything you normally do in the match, do the opposite
when you play today. They played each other so many times, they know
exactly where they are going to hit the ball. Imagine the amount of
times they play, they know each other's games so easily.
Particularly on the returns. One bracket smash at the start of
this final. -- racket. One racket down but Serena won game in front.
Two breaks to one. The second slice backhand she has
missed. Got it a little bit late, taking that racket back. Court
surface is very fast this year at the Australian Open.
Well played! What a 1-2 punch that was, the return was fantastic. And
the second shot, the depth. She just leaned into this, what pace,
accuracy. Two doubles in a row, that's three
already for Serena. Inside three service games. That's the pressure
she is putting on that second serve. When you have served like that there
is no whatsoever from Serena Williams of a three quarters serve
in just to get it in after serving two double faults. She is so
confident that she will go for the big serve.
Three double faults and an ace. Extraordinary game, that was. Venus
has made two of the greatest service in women's tennis history and we
have had four breaks already. Definitely signs, though, that
Serena is feeling the tension out there.
The frustration of Venus because she knows how important the second serve
points are. That was only the fourth out of 20
second serve points played which has been won by the server. Serena
finally getting her first service hold on the board.
I was expecting a higher ballplayer and it came out pretty quickly. She
did well there. Drop volley. Oh! LAUGHTER. That's the real Serena!
That really was outstanding tennis, those last two points.
Oh! Using all her wingspan there! Tremendous striking of the ball
here. Both sisters having that forehand to forehand, then this
angle. That was just brilliant. Although Serena tried to slow the
pace up with one forehand there to give a different look to Venus, it
didn't work. Well, it's hotting up now, isn't it?
Take the last couple of points from the previous game, we are in the
middle of something here. The first time, really, in this
final. A little bit of daylight on the scoreboard.
Just at the moment, Venus, the last couple of games, over hitting the
Borno. Needs to pull the range back a little bit. Going a little too
much -- overhitting the ball, now. There's not much wrong footing you
can do against someone you know so well. They've played each other so
many times. They know every twitch, every movement, every pattern of
play. She knows this seems so well, her
seventh Australian Open final. She's won six of them previously. Serving
for the first set, Serena Williams. The longevity of both these players
is something extraordinary. They played here in 1998, 19 years ago.
Is set away, Serena, now. Moving on to 23 Grand Slam singles titles,
what an achievement that would be. Is still work to be done. A couple
of aces when it mattered, she holds to love and takes the opening set.
We pick it up in the second, it is one game all.
There's that pressure, Serena Williams moving inside the baseline.
Venus knows that second serve is going to be attacked, and goes it
too much. In big trouble here. As you say, Serena's record on
second serve return suggests Venus needs more first deliveries, here.
She's got two of them. I was just thinking whether or not the coach
would say to her, hit a three quarters serve like she just did and
make sure you get high percentage. That's what she just did on that
point, let's see if she carries on with that tactic. Right there. Yes,
she took the pace off again on that first serve. I think she was
reacting to that. She wouldn't know exactly the statistics that we know
but she'll be knowing pretty close what's going on. They are both very
good matchplay is. Venus has only 12 of the 13 points played on her
second serve. -- has only won two of the 13 points. At least she's in the
rally with that serve, at least she has a chance to get into the point.
She keeps giving Serena second serves to have a go at, she's in big
trouble every time. That's really impressive! What a
recovery from 0-40! Five first serves in a row from that moment. No
great coincidence that Venus should win all five points. Sometimes
tactically, that little switch up does need to be made. Absolutely.
That's where experience tells. An amazing lady, Venus Williams. She
made her debut on the tour in 1994! LAUGHTER 23 years ago! Many, if not
most of her opponents, weren't even born when she made her debut!
Serena has been reading notes at every changeover. You don't often
see them doing that. I'm sure it wouldn't be too complicated, there
will be three or four bullet points they would have talked about the
night before, just to keep reminding yourself. It's amazing in the heat
of battle, even someone as experienced as Serena Williams,
might lose her way for a second and then re-engage by checking out the
notes. Very difficult to know, where do you
lean towards on that side when she is serving? Do you nudge over one
way or the other? She can hit any spot, that's the problem. The pace
is so great. It's very difficult. It's the equivalent of playing
Ivanesevic, when you almost have to guess. Now, I think she's annoyed
herself because she had enough time to get round and hit a forehand
there on the second serve. So desperate to get ahead in that
first strike, Venus Williams. She set it up with the return, it
was a strong second shot as well. What a pity, Venus Williams played
such a good point there. It's that easy shot at the end.
Went back to going for the big first serve on that point.
Went for the bigger second serve as well! She has no choice.
It's a victory of sorts for Venus Williams to be back in a Grand Slam
final. Trying to win the Australian Open for the first time, 19 years
after her debut in Melbourne. The last Grand Slam singles title
was Wimbledon 2008. Last played a final in Wimbledon 2009.
Game, Venus Williams. She serves out impressively for a 3-2 lead. Four of
Venus Williams 's seven Grand Slam singles titles were more than 15
years ago. Amazing achievement, to be back here playing for another
one. There is the prize. These two ladies contested the trophy in 2003.
Five breaks of serve in the first set of this final, so far in the
second, five games going with serve. There are a lot of errors coming
from Venus Williams but she has to play this kind of game to win this
match. She has to be aggressive and take chances. She certainly can't
play a defensive game. She doesn't have that in her game anyway, but
against Serena she just has to go for it, take chances, and I am sure
she will create more winners than losers. At the moment she is
definitely in this match. Again, Serena are all over the
second serve. That rotation of their hips there on that backhand. Rotates
round, extension all the way through the ball. Good recovery there from
Venus. Oh, that's just... It's so brilliant
there, Serena Williams most of the time defending in that rally, then
she gets one chance, really, to open up the court, and she's got such
power and accuracy, she takes over the rally. Such a good athlete.
That's the forehand, that one there, that's the one that creates the
error. So good. And does. Two break points saved in
this game by Venus. Just lapping up the second service
returns in that game. A break ahead, 4-3, two games away from the title.
Well, what a career both these ladies have had. They have spanned
three decades, four US presidents and five UK prime ministers. Still
going, playing for another Grand Slam title. Serena two games away
from it. Curved that ball out of the
forehand, and then she can flatten it out when she wants to, as well.
Four times to the forehand there in that game, four first serves stop
Whitwell, that flew by in less than a minute. -- four first serves.
Well, that flew back in less than a minute.
Venus Williams serving to stay in the match at 3-5.
Well played! Still in there, fighting, digging very deep in that
game to stay in the championship. For now.
We talk so much about her sister, don't wait, but Venus Williams, 36
years of age. Considering six years ago she had to take time off the
Tour with Vista below -- tour with this debilitating disease she
contracted. To get back to this level says so much, doesn't it,
about her desire and commitment to the sport. It shows once again that
the Williams sisters got it right with their hold tennis career, the
way they prepared, the way they took time off that periods in their
career to do other things, everyone said that was a no- no, you had to
be 100% focused on your tennis career or you would never make it,
but what it has done, the longevity is here, they still love the game,
they look like they are in their 20s, they don't look their age at
all. They want to play all the time, they are hungry. It looks like they
could play another five years as well. and they have had a varied
life outside of sport, as well. Exactly. Almost part-timers at some
points, but they are grateful today because they are playing for that
trophy. It is on the line for the winner of the Australian Open. We
may just have a champion in waiting here, because Serena Williams, six
times a winner in the past, is serving for the match.
There have certainly been flashes of brilliance from Venus Williams in
this match. That was a tremendous start to this game. What a first
return that was. On the line from Venus! How hard is
she working here?! Saying to her little sister, you aren't going to
get this title easily. Best rally in the match.
This is really heavy hitting now from both these fierce competitors.
It used to be said that they couldn't play against each other,
certainly in the early days of their rivalry, there were some matches
which were average at best. But believe me, there are more decent
contests between them than not. Familiar feeling in her long career,
but the nerves will still be in fading. It is championship point.
There it is! CHEERING She moves onto 23 Grand Slam singles
titles. Venus Williams beaten on the day,
but she knows what an accomplishment that is by her little sister. She
moves ahead of Steffi Graf. And to within one of the all-time record,
held by Margarette Court. A lovely scene as the sisters embrace. They
have competed against each other for so long, since the late 90s. So many
great battles over the years. And yet, always sisters. Seven time
Grand Slam champion and one half of the greatest sibling act in world
sport, Venus Williams! CHEERING For the seven time champion here at
Melbourne Park, and with it all back to number one in the world, ladies
and gentlemen, our champion, the legendary Serena Williams! SUE
BARKER: she will be presented with her check by the child who won a
competition. The trophy will be presented by Hannah Manlicova..
First, let's hear from Serena. I would like to take this moment to
congratulate Venus. She's an amazing person. CHEERING
There's no way I would be at 23 without her, there's no way I would
be at one without her, she's the any reason I'm standing here today and
the only reason the Williams sisters exist. Thank you, Venus, for
inspiring me to be the best player that I could be and inspired me to
work hard. Every time you won this week I felt like I'd got to win to
say thank you so much. She deserves an incredible round of applause.
She's made an amazing comeback. APPLAUSE
I have to thank my team. I couldn't have done this week without you
guys, Patrick you are the best. Life wouldn't be possible without them.
Thank you to the crowd, you guys are stunning, amazing, beautiful. I love
you, thank you. CHEERING SUE BARKER: some lovely words from
Serena. The Williams sisters are an inspirational story with everything
they've been through. Serena, 35 years old, still the dominant force
in tennis. When Serena is informed not even her older sister can get
close. John has joined me in the studio. When you think about where
they came from, Richard the father throwing up the coaching manual,
doing it his way and producing these incredible players. When Richard
came on the scene, people thought that he was out of his mind, some of
the things he said about, it saying he didn't want his daughters to play
junior tennis. He said he wanted them to have other hobbies
throughout their time, to take time off, do not play as much as other
women. He did all the things that were against the manual, but he
predicted they would both be number one and they were. From where they
came from, it's the most staggering sports story in history. And the
autoimmune disorder that Venus has, the blood clot Serena had to come
back from and still have to take medication for, it shows their love
and passion that the game that in their mid-30s they are still out
there competing. You look at them on court and they don't look their age.
They look like they could place the years. If they continue this love,
and they keep wanting to train as hard as they do, I mean, Serena is
unbeatable when she still wants to play. The Venus to come back and be
in the final now, it's a remarkable story. When Serena is informed, no
one can come close. She's got the power, the ability, the serve, the
greatest of all time for me, her serve is. When she is informed she
is unstoppable. No one can get through to her. They can't make her
defend, she's always on the front foot. The service over big. The
greatest love of all time. Her one to punch behind the serve, it's
almost impossible to compete against that. Her return of serve is
brilliant. The rest of the women in the draw, they know when she is on
her best, the winner. There was a lovely moment as they walked off
court, Serena went off with her bag and her trophy, walking up through
this corridor of former champions. There's only six, they are going to
put a 7-Up. That was a wonderful moment it shows what, Margaret
Court, 24, you feel that Serena will overtake that. There's no reason she
couldn't, she's so good. I could see how winning the Grand Slam this
year. That is one of the amazing finals we've got in Melbourne this
weekend. We've got Roger against Rafa tomorrow, that is something to
look forward to. We didn't expect to see these two great champions. That
is tomorrow. We'll have the highlights at 1pm on BBC Two. Hear
it live at 8:30am. That's not all the tennis we've got coming up on
the BBC. Starting next Friday it's the first round of the Davis Cup in
which Britain are taking on Canada in Ottawa. Britain's chances are
being boosted by the withdrawal of Milos Raonic with injury. That will
start on Friday. They don't have another player in the top 100 so
that puts Britain in the driving seat even without Andy. The tie is
flipped. When Andy said he wasn't going to play, all of a sudden
Canada becomes the favourite. Now Milos Raonic is out, Britain is the
favourite with Dan Evans playing the way playing. The doubles is almost a
lock with Jamie Murray and I do think the Canadians can get a rubber
at it. I think we could clean sweep that match. Britain has some great
players, singles and doubles. Tomorrow it's the match everyone has
been dreaming about. Roger against Rafa. We thought it would be
Djokovic against Murray but we have these two great champions who looked
to be back to their best. Is staggering and another great story.
If you talk to people around the world, they never dream these two
would be in the final again. I don't know who's going to be the crowd
favourite tomorrow, I suspect Roger Federer but not by a lot. Rafa has
got an amazing story. Roger Federer Alpha six months, comes in and gets
to the finals. Rafa, injuries all over the place. I thought that
against Dimitrov he played some tennis we last saw three or four
years ago. The only thing is, will that match have taken a lot out of
him? Back then maybe not but getting to the finals for the first time in
a long while and playing these matches back-to-back, maybe he'll be
tired. That's 1pm on BBC Two tomorrow. Today saw Serena Williams
collect another Grand Slam title and hate her place at the top of the
world rankings. 23 titles and counting the Serena -- take her
place at the top of the world rankings. 23 titles and counting for
Serena. COMMENTATOR: She moves on to 23 Grand Slam singles titles.