By Ann Liguori
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It will be a "Sister Act" in the quarterfinals Tuesday evening.
Both Serena Williams, who turns 34 on Sept. 26, and her older sister Venus, at age 35, have set the bar on handling intense competition against each other, yet still show an immense love and respect for each other. It's been quite impressive and unprecedented to watch over the years.
But for Venus to have to get in the way of Serena's quest to capture an historic calendar grand slam? That's an entirely different level of complexity.
"I don't think anyone wants to be a spoiler," Venus said after her fourth-round win over Anett Kontaveit on Sunday. "I think people love to see history being made. No one is out to be a spoiler, but at the same time, you're focused on winning your match even though the circumstances are really much different."
It will be the 27th meeting between the two overall, with Serena winning 15 times. In fact, Serena has won six of the last seven meetings, including this year at Wimbledon in the round of 16, 6-4, 6-3.
The last time the two met at the US Open was in 2008 in the quarterfinals, in which Serena won 7-6, 7-6.
And it's been 17 years since their very first matchup as professionals -- in the second round of the 1998 Australian Open. In fact, Venus won five of their first seven matches.
They're meeting each other for the 14th time in a grand slam tournament. Only Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova have met more often (22).
"I think it's more fun than it used to be," Serena said about playing her sister. "We really relish the opportunity. We're both happy to still be involved in getting so far. And it's still super intense. She's doing well and she wants to win this. So do I. It's not easy."
Asked to comment on playing her sister and how they've been able to handle it, keeping it so civil through the years, Serena said, "I think it's been a great experience. I feel like Venus and I have definitely proven that you can be friends and you can be sisters, you can be enemies on the court, and you can be friends and sisters off the court."
Asked to comment on what she thinks their rivalry has meant to tennis, Serena replied, "I think it's been an amazing rivalry. I think it's meant a lot. We've done a lot for the sport. I think, you know, hopefully it can continue as long as we play.
"Like I said, for me, the only player in the draw I don't want to play, not only because she's my sister, but for me, she's the best player."
Individually, their stats are amazing. Together, their numbers are off the charts. The sisters have combined to win 115 career singles titles (Serena 69, Venus, 46), 28 grand slam singles titles (Serena 21, Venus 7) and eight gold medals (four apiece -- three in doubles and one each in singles).
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