Serena Williams and Venus Williams will battle for the 30th time in their professional careers Friday, this time in the third round of the 2018 U.S. Open.
While these two are used to battling in the later rounds of Grand Slam events, Serena's time off because of her pregnancy dropped her down the rankings. She was fortunate to get the No. 17 seed because of her past success, even as the No. 26 player in the world, but she was unlucky to be in the same draw as her No. 16-seeded sister.
As Jose Morgado of Record noted, this will be the earliest they will battle in a Grand Slam in 20 years.
With 30 major titles between them, though, this is certain to be an exciting match regardless.
When: Friday, Aug. 31
Time: 7 p.m. ET
Where: ar, N.Y.
Live Stream: WatchESPN
Full schedule info courtesy of USOpen.org.
Serena Williams is slowly working her way back from her missed time, entering this tournament with an unusually pedestrian 12-5 record on the year.
Although she reached the Wimbledon final, she lost two of her three matches over the past month in two United States tournaments.
However, she has looked like her former self at the U.S. Open, with two straight-set wins and just eight total games lost. The 23-time major champion has only been broken once and didn't even face a break point in her opening win over Magda Linette.
Her ability to cover ground despite her age, 36, has also been impressive:
While she never looks forward to her matches against her sister, she also knows that she plays at her best, per David Kane of WTATennis.com:
"The best part is we bring out the best in each other. I know when I play her, I have to play some of my best tennis. She does too. It propels us to continue to play that for the tournament. It sets a tone for us. I feel like throughout our career, we have pushed each other to be the best that we can be, and be Venus and Serena Williams."
While Serena lost to her sister at Indian Wells this year, it was her first tournament following her pregnancy. The younger sibling had won the previous three matches, all Grand Slams, including in the quarterfinals of the 2015 U.S. Open.
Overall, Venus only has a 12-17 record in the sisters' head-to-head matches, with two wins in the past 10 contests.
Still, the 38-year-old is capable of winning this match and making a deep run in this tournament. The veteran has been aggressive at the net and has been especially impressive against opponents' serves, winning 49 percent of receiving points in two rounds.
Venus knows what it takes to win this match and should help create an outstanding battle between two of the best players of the past generation.