Tennis

Williams sisters to return to SA

2012-11-04 19:29
Serena and Venus Williams (AP)

Johannesburg - The iconic Williams sisters promised to return to South Africa after a second-gear Serena proved too strong for Venus in an entertaining 6-3, 6-4 exhibition win before a near-capacity 4 000-strong crowd at the Ellis Park Indoor Arena on Sunday afternoon.

"The reception we have received in South Africa has been quite amazing," said 31-year-old Serena.

"This was my first trip to South Africa, and to find so many enthusiastic and dedicated fans supporting us is mind-blowing.

"I hope we have repaid this support by encouraging and contributing in some way to the emergence of world-class women tennis players in Africa and South Africa, in particular - and assisting in the Breaking the Mould motivation behind it all."

Venus said they had enjoyed their short stay in the country.

"We not only want to come back, but all our friends want to come to South Africa as well after what we have told them about our brief stay," said 32-year-old Venus.

Fresh from her triumph in the WTA Championships last week, having defeated Maria Sharapova in the final in Istanbul, Serena took the honours against her sibling in Johannesburg, winning 6-4, 6-3 after succumbing to Venus in straight sets in an exhibition in Lagos, Nigeria, on Friday.

The American siblings were in South Africa for two days to champion “Breaking the Mould” - an initiative aimed at recognising women who have risen above adversity to succeed and inspire others.

Before the match, the sisters had said they would “go all out” and they delivered on their promise to the delight of their enthusiastic fans at Ellis Park's Indoor Arena.

From the time Sports Minister Fikile Mbabula tossed the coin, the spectators were treated to some magnificent tennis.

The Williams sisters displayed their skills and prowess on the court while also entertaining and playing to the crowd.

Venus, ranked 24th in the world, started the stronger of the two but Serena seemed to be holding a little back and she made her intentions clear towards the end of the second set.

Serena, fast earning a reputation as a philanthropist, had visited other African nations before, while Venus was visiting the continent for the first time.

Serena's return to form this year saw her triumph at Wimbledon in the women's singles for the fifth time, clinch gold medals in both the singles and doubles at the London Olympics and cap it off with the US Open singles -- her 15th Grand Slam title.

Venus, at 32, is no slouch herself with seven slams under her belt, including five Wimbledon singles titles, and still holds the record for the fastest serve ever recorded in women's tennis.

While Serena flew out of South Africa soon after the Ellis Park engagement, Venus agreed to stay on for the night's South African Sports Awards in Sandton and said she would depart on Monday.

Read more on:    serena williams  |  venus williams  |  tennis
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