NEW YORK Serena Williams voiced the frustration of fans, TV bosses and advertisers on Monday when she said she was not happy to meet her sister Venus so early in the U.S. Open after they booked a quarter-finals clash.
"It sucks," Williams said courtside after her fourth-round win against French wildcard Severine Bremond.
"Even the semi-finals would have been better than the quarters, but at least one of us will make it to the semi-finals," Serena said after disposing of her latest opponent in straight sets.
"It sucks that it can't the final. At least the semis. It's so soon," the fourth seed and younger of the sisters told reporters. "It's just disappointing to be so soon."
The Williams sisters dominated the Open for four years, Serena winning in 1999 and 2002 and Venus in 2000 and 2001. Since then their dominance has waned and five players, including Serena, have a chance to leave Flushing Meadows as world number one.
Still, the Williams sisters are the only ones left in the Open who have won a grand slam, and they have not dropped a set yet in the tournament. Serena has lost just 14 games from her four matches, and seventh-seeded Venus 15.
"It's tough to play her because she is so good," said Venus, who won their last collision at this summer's Wimbledon final for her fifth singles title at the All England Club.
"I think if I had a sister and she wasn't very good, then it would be just not really a big deal because I would beat her," Venus told reporters after her 6-1 6-3 victory over Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland.
"But she's very good, so I have to figure out, okay, how can I win this match?"
"As we continue to climb up the rankings (Serena is third and Venus is eighth), hopefully it'll get to the point where we meet later in the draw," she said.
The sisters are 8-8 in head-to-head matches during their career, and 5-5 against each other on the grand slam stage.
Venus said earlier this week she felt like she was at her best, but Serena said again on Monday she still had room to improve before Wednesday's quarter-final showdown.
"I feel like I can win the tournament if I play my best tennis and I don't feel like I've played my best yet," said Serena. "I feel like I can play better and hit better."
Venus, who won their last Open clash in the fourth round in 2005, said Serena is rounding into form.
"We're usually practising side by side, so she looks pretty consistent, like she's really working on her game," said Venus, who partnered Serena in Beijing to win their second Olympic doubles title.
Serena said she would treat the match like any other. "Obviously you guys know I hate to lose," she said. "It doesn't matter who I'm playing."
(Editing by Larry Fine)