Every morning during the U.S. Open, Richard Pagliaro will take a look back at a significant match that took place on that calendar day.
September 4, 2005: Venus Williams d. Serena Williams, 7-6 (5), 6-2 (Fourth Round)
The sisters who combined to win four consecutive U.S. Open championships between 1999 and 2002 during their days of dominance found themselves confined to the same cramped quarter of the draw. It was the earliest they met in a tournament since their first pro encounter in the second round of the 1998 Australian Open. The conditions and competitors did not inspire high-quality tennis, as swirling winds and patchy play from both sisters combined to create a match Venus and Serena both characterized as "bizarre."
"It was bizarre. I think it was distracting for both of us, to be honest," Venus said. "We were sad when we heard the draw. We didn't talk about it till now. But it's hard because I want her to be in the tournament. I want her to win just as much as I want to. If it's a final, it's obviously different. But it was just super strange for sure."
It was Venus' second successive straight-sets victory over Serena, as she evened their head to head series at 7-7. Serena had built a streak of six straight wins over her older sister, but injury-induced inactivity took the edge off her game. Since she stumbled out of Wimbledon in the third round, Serena had played just four matches prior to renewing this sibling rivalry.
Serving for the first set at 5-4, Venus, who had won 11 straight points on serve, double-faulted twice to drop serve at love. Serena consolidated the break, and when Venus belted a backhand beyond the baseline, Serena earned a set point at 6-5. But Venus jammed her eighth-seeded sister with a 113 M.P.H. serve into the body and held to force a tiebreaker. At 5-5 in the extra session, Venus curled a forehand into the corner to open the court and guided a backhand volley to earn set point. When Serena's backhand found the top of the tape, Venus collected the first set. It would be the most dramatic portion of the contest.