Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

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

January 3, 2014 -- Updated 2053 GMT (0453 HKT)
Serena and Venus Williams will be hoping to get their hands on winning trophies at the Brisbane and Auckland events.
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

(CNN) -- 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.

Serena: Venus was a great role model
Williams sisters show off dancing skills
Serena Williams: I'm really ruthless

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.

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.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
June 30, 2014 -- Updated 1135 GMT (1935 HKT)
When Agnieszka Radwanska refused to look her opponent in the eye after losing at Wimbledon, it raised more than eyebrows.
June 23, 2014 -- Updated 0114 GMT (0914 HKT)
It's 10 years since a teenage Maria Sharapova became the darling of Wimbledon's hallowed Center Court, launching herself as a star.
Rafael Nadal is still the "King of Clay" -- but his crown has slipped a bit, says CNN's Will Edmonds.
May 23, 2014 -- Updated 0746 GMT (1546 HKT)
He's regularly voted France's favorite famous person, but many of the nation's youth have "no idea" about his glorious sporting past
May 5, 2014 -- Updated 2359 GMT (0759 HKT)
British tennis player Elena Baltacha won 11 ITF Pro Circuit titles during her 16-year playing career.
The Ukrainian-born, British tennis star loses fight against liver cancer, just a few weeks after revealing that she was battling the disease.
April 29, 2014 -- Updated 1555 GMT (2355 HKT)
Five-time grand slam champion Martina Hingis has followed her mom into a coaching role, setting up a new tennis academy in Barcelona, Spain.
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1238 GMT (2038 HKT)
Suisse's Belinda Bencic returns the ball to France's Alize Cornet during the second match of the Fed Cup first round tennis tie France vs Switzerland on February 8, 2014 at the Pierre de Coubertin stadium in Paris. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD (Photo credit should read KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)
It's no easy matter becoming a world class tennis player. It's even harder when everyone (really -- everyone) is calling you the "new Martina Hingis."
April 2, 2014 -- Updated 1420 GMT (2220 HKT)
At the 2009 Australian Open, French men's tennis was the talk of the town.
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1800 GMT (0200 HKT)
MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - APRIL 14: Rafael Nadal of Spain sails a boat during day two of the ATP Monte Carlo Rolex Masters Tennis at Monte-Carlo Sporting Club on April 14, 2014 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Rafael Nadal may be most at home on a clay tennis court, but he has always found comfort on the sea.
March 21, 2014 -- Updated 1107 GMT (1907 HKT)
Tennis star Venus Williams reveals how she is beating the autoimmune disease that derailed her career.
March 5, 2014 -- Updated 1014 GMT (1814 HKT)
After two decades dedicated to the game, Amelie Mauresmo wants a second life -- one away from tennis.
Rafael Nadal of Spain wipes his face after losing his men's final match against Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland during day 14 of the 2014 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 26, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia.
Almost five years to the day after reducing Roger Federer to tears at the Australian Open, Rafael Nadal shed a few in his own loser's speech.
ADVERTISEMENT