Saturday's play at the U.S. Open Tennis championship brought American Pete Sampras and rising Australian tennis player Lleyton Hewitt into Sunday's finals. But Saturday's highlight was without a doubt the woman's final.
American Venus Williams has captured her second U.S. Open women's crown with a victory over her sister, Serena, 6-2, 6-4. It was the first grand slam final to feature two professional sisters, and the first U.S. women's final to be televised in prime time evening hours.
While Venus Williams did not dominate, she consistently stayed ahead of Serena with a stronger service game and fewer unforced errors.
Despite the loss, Serena says both she and Venus try to keep the game and their head-to-head meetings in perspective. "Tennis is just a game," she said. "And we are entertainers. And we entertain the public. And people come to see us play and perform. They pay to see us perform and entertain. And after that, we go home. Venus will always be my sister and we are always going be a family. No matter what, she is always going to be there. So we just take tennis as it comes. We play a match. But after that, we have to be able to separate tennis from family life."
Venus Williams has now won two consecutive U.S. Open women's titles. Serena was the 1999 winner.
After enduring a grueling marathon match against American teenager Andy Roddick on Thursday, 20-year-old Lleyton Hewitt easily swept past Russia's Yevgeny Kafelnikov, 6-1, 6-2, 6-1, in the most lopsided men's semifinal victory in the U.S. Open era. Hewitt will now play in his first grand slam final. "In my personal career, it is definitely going to be the biggest match tomorrow," he said. "I have won maybe nine tournaments, I think. But I have not been able to crack it in the Masters Series or the grand slams."
Hewitt will face American Pete Sampras, who ousted last year's champion, Marat Safin of Russia in a rematch of last year's final, 6-3, 7-6, 6-3. Sampras says he tried to take control early, especially his serve.
"I just set the tone early. I mean, that was a big part of the match. I really set the tone and came in (to the net) quite a bit and kept him off guard a little bit," he said. "I served very well and served big when I was down a little bit in the second (set). I just played a better match than last year."
Sampras will be trying to win his fifth U-S Open title in seven final appearances and his 14th grand slam championship.