Sister double act: Serena and Venus Williams to contest separate WTA finals

Serena and Venus Williams will be hoping to get their hands on winning trophies at the Brisbane and Auckland events.

Story highlights

  • No.1 Serena Williams reaches Brisbane final
  • Beats Maria Sharapova in straight sets
  • Plays second-ranked Victoria Azarenka in final
  • Venus Williams progresses to title match in Auckland

Serena and Venus Williams reached the finals of different tournaments for the first time since 1999 Friday as the most famous sister double act in sport warmed up for the opening grand slam of the season.

Top-ranked Serena continued her domination of the women's game with a straight sets win over arch- rival Maria Sharapova to reach the Brisbane final, while 33-year-old Venus has reached the title match in Auckland.

She benefited from a walkover when fifth seed Jamie Hampton was forced to withdraw before the start of their semifinal with a hip injury.

Read: Serena reveals ankle fears

Venus, herself blighted by Sjorgen's Syndrome and other injuries since 2011, will play Ana Ivanovic of Serbia in a battle of former No.1s.

Ivanovic showed glimpses of her old form with a 6-0 7-3 win over Belgian Kirsten Flipkens to set up a dream final for the organizers.

Serena: Venus was a great role model
Serena: Venus was a great role model

    JUST WATCHED

    Serena: Venus was a great role model

MUST WATCH

Serena: Venus was a great role model 01:55
Williams sisters show off dancing skills
Williams sisters show off dancing skills

    JUST WATCHED

    Williams sisters show off dancing skills

MUST WATCH

Williams sisters show off dancing skills 01:54
Serena Williams: I'm really ruthless
Serena Williams: I'm really ruthless

    JUST WATCHED

    Serena Williams: I'm really ruthless

MUST WATCH

Serena Williams: I'm really ruthless 01:20

Likewise in Brisbane, Serena will play second-ranked Victoria Azarenka, who needed over two hours to get past fourth seed Jelena Jankovic, 1-6 6-3 6-4.

After a slow start, Azarenka from Belarus, was able to get on top, racing to a 5-1 lead in the decider and then repelling a late Jankovic rally.

"It wasn't the best execution, but she was playing some really good tennis out there today," she told the official WTA Tour website.

Read: Serena: 2013 was make or break for my career

Williams was also extended by third seed Sharapova, who is returning to the WTA Tour after shoulder problems.

She took the opener 6-3 but had to recover from 3-1 down in a marathon 68-minute second set to win the tiebreaker 9-7 and progress to the final.

17-time grand slam champion Williams said she was looking forward to locking horns again with Azarenka after splitting four meetings last season.

"She's so intense on court, and off court she's so cool," she said. "When you step on the court I don't know her and she doesn't know me, and we fight like crazy. When it's over, it's over. There's a lot of mutual respect there," she admitted.

Read: Venus wins 2012 Luxembourg title

Williams will be looking to wrest the Australian Open title later this month from defending champion Azarenka so Saturday's title match will be an important marker.

She and Venus contested eight grand slam finals between them in their heyday, with Serena winning six of them, as the pair dominated the women's game in the early years of the century.

        Tennis

      • Rafael Nadal of Spain watches the ball in his match against Martin Klizan of Slovakia during during day seven of the China Open at the National Tennis Center on October 3, 2014 in Beijing, China.

        What does 2015 hold for Rafa?

        Rafael Nadal's body might be giving him a few problems, but his mind remains as strong as ever. Will the Spaniard add to his haul of 14 grand slam titles?
      • LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 17: Wimbledon champion Andy Murray and his long time girlfriend Kim Sears arrive at Buckingham Palace on October 17, in London, England. Murray will become an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) and receive his medal from the Duke of Cambridge. (Photo by John Stillwell - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

        Love game: Andy Murray to tie knot

        The Scot has served up a few changes to his support team in 2014 but there's one person who isn't going anywhere -- his new fiancée Kim Sears.
      • Despite being forced to retire at the age of 24 due to health problems, Lacoste remained in the game and went on start the "Lacoste" brand in 1933, which specialised in tennis products. The inspiration for the company's logo came from his nickname as a player, "le crocodile."

        'Crocodile' who broke all the rules

        His distinctive crocodile logo is seen on clothing all over the world, but Rene Lacoste also left a lasting legacy in the development of tennis.
      • Serena Williams of the US holds the US Open trophy after defeating Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark during their US Open 2014 women's singles finals match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Center September 7, 2014 in New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

        Serena savors U.S. Open win

        Serena Williams is without peer in the modern women's game and now she is on a par with two American tennis legends from the past.
      • American tennis player and golfer Althea Gibson (right) receives a kiss from compatriot Darlene Hard, whom she beat in two sets to become the first black woman to win the Women's Singles Finals at Wimbledon.

        The amazing life of Althea Gibson

        Over the course of her remarkable life, Althea Gibson was many things to many people -- but it was tennis where she really left her mark.
      • Courting couple at match point

        "I didn't cry once when I practiced in front of the mirror," says Martin Emmrich. But the nerves kicked in when he got down on one knee on court.
      • LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 03: Tennis / Frauen: Wimbledon 2004, London; Finale; Siegerin Maria SHARAPOVA / RUS 03.07.04. (Photo by Bongarts/Bongarts/Getty Images)

        'Baby' Sharapova's big moment

        It's 10 years since a teenage Maria Sharapova became the darling of Wimbledon's hallowed Center Court, launching herself as a star.
      • 'Swiss Miss' follows mom's lead

        Five-time grand slam champion Martina Hingis has followed her mom into a coaching role, setting up a new tennis academy in Barcelona, Spain.