Serena and Venus Williams have met in eight Grand Slam finals, most recently at Wimbledon last month. The U.S. Open won’t feature No. 9.
The No. 2-seeded Serena and No. 3 Venus are in the same half of the U.S. Open field announced on Thursday, meaning they could face each other only in the semifinals of the year’s last major tournament.
“It is a shame. They’re the people to beat. They rise to the occasion at the big ones, especially Serena,” three-time U.S. Open champion John McEnroe said. “In interest level alone, it’s too bad.”
In July, Serena beat Venus at Wimbledon for her 11th Grand Slam singles title - four more than Venus owns. Serena also leads 6-2 in major finals and 11-10 overall in professional matches.
“There’s definitely a rivalry, especially when we step out on the court,” Serena said.
“We never talk about numbers, per se. But when we’re on the court, we both have in the back of our minds that we won that many matches against each other,” she said. “At least it’s in the back of my mind.”
The women’s quarterfinals could be No. 1 Dinara Safina vs. No. 5 Jelena Jankovic, and No. 4 Elena Dementieva vs. No. 6 Svetlana Kuznetsova in the top half; Serena Williams vs. No. 7 Vera Zvonareva, and Venus Williams vs. No. 8 Victoria Azarenka in the bottom half.
Venus Williams could wind up facing 2005 U.S. Open champion Kim Clijsters in the fourth round. Clijsters recently came out of retirement and is returning to the tournament for the first time since winning it.