If Serena Williams would feel sympathy for any opponent standing in the way of her pursuit of tennis's first true Grand Slam in 27 years, it might very well be her sister Venus. Still, no way was Serena going to let anyone, or anything, stop her on this night, even if she found herself in a mid-match lull while facing her older sibling in the US Open quarterfinals. Moving two matches from history, top-seeded Serena got all she could handle from 23rd-seeded Venus before moving into the semifinals at Flushing Meadows with a 6-2, 1-6, 6-3 victory today in the 27th installment of the unique Williams vs. Williams rivalry. When it ended, they met at the net for a hug, with a smiling Venus wrapping both arms around Serena.
Serena is 16-11 in their matches, including 9-5 in majors and 3-2 at the US Open. Of greater significance, Serena can still become the first player since Steffi Graf in 1988 to collect all four Grand Slam titles in a calendar year. And if she can win what would be her fourth US Open in a row, and seventh overall, she would equal Graf with 22 major championships, the most in the professional era and second-most ever behind Margaret Court's 24. On Thursday, Serena will play unseeded Roberta Vinci of Italy, who moved into the first Grand Slam semifinal of her career at age 32 by outlasting Kristina Mladenovic of France 6-3, 5-7, 6-4. Vinci is 0-4 against Serena and joked about wearing a helmet for protection from some of the 33-year-old American's booming shots. (Read more Serena Williams stories.)