Venus downs Serena in Lagos

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By John Egbokhan
Seven-time Grand Slam singles champion, Venus Williams, yesterday defeated her younger sister, Serena in straight sets of 6-4, 7-5 in an exhibition match played on the Lord Rumens Centre Court of the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, Onikan.

The match which was the highlight of the Breaking the Mould tour of the famous tennis super-stars, was watched by a cheery and fun-loving fans, who enjoyed every moment of the once in a lifetime moment to see the great tennis stars trade volleys for the very first time in Nigeria, nay Africa.

Even before the match started, the fans had almost filled the stands, defying the high cost of tickets, which traded N5000 for the popular side and N10, 000 for the VIP and state-box seats. They showed that money was not the real issue as long as the right people were being marketed.

US tennis player Venus Williams signs autographs after an exhibition match with her sister Serena at the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club on November 2, 2012. The Williams sisters and their mother Oracene Price are in a three-day visit in Lagos, before to reach South Africa, to encourage athletes on the continent to strive for excellence in their sport. AFP PHOTO

And in recognition of the fans, the two sisters, played and danced to the musical beats of highly rated singer, D’Banj, whose famous single, Oliver Twist, was intermittently rotated by the in-house disc jockey.

Venus, was especially in tune with the music as she did some dance moves that thrilled the fans. It came as surprise to the fans, who did not expect the sisters to know the local songs ruling the airwaves here.

For Serena, who is still fresh from her Women Tour Association Championship victory in Istanbul, the song of D’Banj also struck a chord with her as she danced at intervals.

But her dancing moves were not enough to save her from losing to Venus, who took the first set after 30 minutes in the scotching heat, which the sisters, seemed untroubled by.

In the second set, Serena seemed to have awoken from her first set defeat to race to a 2-0 lead but a determined Venus, broke serve, held and broke again to lead 3-2.

Not wanting to be outdone easily, Serena broke back, as both sisters held serves until the 11th game when Venus served two aces from nowhere to break ranks before breaking Serena, who is the world’s number three player to take the set 7-5 and cap a remarkable end to the tour which next takes them to South Africa.

Speaking on her victory, Venus said that she was thrilled with her victory over Serena, who won two Grand Slam titles in 2012, adding that she was looking forward to coming back next year for another sisters tour to promote tennis and engender women empowerment.

“This is a good way to finish this tour of Nigeria and I look forward to coming back”, said Venus.

On her part, Serena said that it was a good match for the fans and promised to return when the opportunity presents itself.

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