Serena eased past sentimental favorite Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, 6-2, 6-1, in the Australian Open semifinals on Thursday, and Venus came from a set down to top up-and-comer CoCo Vandeweghe.
Serena is looking for her Open-era record 23rd major title and seventh Aussie Open. Venus is targeting her eighth major championship, and first since 2008. The elder Williams has never won the title Down Under.
In anticipation of their highly-anticipated match, and as a testament to their sustained brilliance and longevity, we’re taking a trip down memory lane and chronicling their previous eight Grand Slam final matches.
Cue the way-back machine. We’re going deep.
2001 U.S. Open: Venus d. Serena, 6-2, 6-4
This match was particularly memorable. It was the first installment of Williams-Williams in a major final, and in front of the American fans in Flushing Meadows, the atmosphere was especially palpable. The big sister got the best of her kin on this day, winning rather easily in straight sets. It was Venus’ second and final U.S. Open title, and her fourth major in two years.
2002 French Open: Serena d. Venus, 7-5, 6-3
This was the first of four straight majors final (and five of six) in which Serena and Venus squared off for the trophy, an absolutely incredible display of dominance over the women’s game. Serena turned the tide on her sister at Roland Garros, beating Venus in straights. After taking the French Open, Serena would go on to win three more Grand Slams in succession and hold all four majors.
2002 Wimbledon: Serena d. Venus, 7-6 (4), 6-3
Serena needed a tiebreaker to get the first set, and then rolled in the second. This was the first of Serena’s seven titles at the All England Club.
2002 U.S. Open: Serena d. Venus, 6-4, 6-3
Another straight-setter for Serena, who at this point has established herself as the undisputed best player on the WTA tour. She picks up her second U.S. Open title—and first since 1999—and ties Venus with four major trophies.
2003 Australian Open: Serena d. Venus, 7-6 (4), 3-6, 6-4
OK, now Serena is making history, and by this point her sister must be getting awfully frustrated. In their tightest match yet in a Slam final, Serena takes the first set in a tiebreaker before dropping the second. She pulls out the deciding third to complete the career Grand Slam at just 22 years of age.
2003 Wimbledon: Serena d. Venus, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2
Another heartbreaker for Venus, who grabs the first set before letting the next two get away. This would be Serena’s last Grand Slam title until 2005.
2008 Wimbledon: Venus d. Serena, 7-5, 6-4
Five years later, they meet again in a major final. And what do you know? Venus finally exacts some revenge, snapping a five-match losing streak against her sister in Grand Slam title matches. Venus wins her fifth Wimbledon title, and last major to date.
2009 Wimbledon: Serena d. Venus, 7-6 (3), 6-2
Serena denies her sister a sixth Wimbledon title with a straight-sets victory. Venus would never reach another Grand Slam final (until now); Serena, on the other hand, would go on to win 11 more singles majors.
Serena is 6-2 against Venus in Slam finals, but it’s worth noting that, in their other 19 meetings, Serena holds a narrow 10-9 edge.
The younger sister, ranked second in the world, is the clear favorite coming into the match. But knowing what we know about Venus’ competitive nature and desire—and about this historic rivalry—she can’t be counted out, by any means.
Savor this match, on this stage, because we may never see it again.