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Serena crushes Venus to reach final

SERENA-WILLIAMSCHARLESTON, South Carolina, April 6 – Serena Williams crushed her older sibling Venus 6-1, 6-2 to reach the final of the Family Circle Cup in the most lop-sided match of their WTA Tour careers between the American sisters.

In the first match between them in four years, Serena needed just 54 minutes to send Venus packing on the green clay surface here on Saturday.

Defending champion Serena dominated from the opening serve against Venus who had eight double faults and won just 27 percent of her second serves.

Venus, 32, even had trouble with Serena’s 70 mph second serve which was considerably slower than Serena was serving in her quarter-final match on Friday.

Serena will get a chance to go for her second straight Charleston crown and third overall when she plays the final against Jelena Jankovic who defeated Stefanie Voegele 6-4, 6-7 (6/8), 6-2 in the other semi-final

Serena said she is handling pressure better now than she did in the past.

“I will never change who I am. I am passionate, I get angry, frustrated but not as much,” Serena said Saturday. “As long as I know how to bring it back and not take it too far, US Open-style, then I can stay calm.”

The 31-year-old Serena said she was fortunate to be back in good condition and not struggling with health issues like Venus, who has an ongoing battle with Sjogren’s Syndrome — an auto-immune disorder that can cause fatigue.

“I am so inspired by Venus everything she is going through,” Serena said. “I feel like I don’t have those problems so why am I not winning.”

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Serena finished with six aces and won 75 percent of her first-serve points although she won just two points all match on her reduced second serve.

Serena now owns a 14-10 career win mark over Venus, which includes a 6-2, 7-6 (7/4) victory in their last contest in 2009 in the final of the WTA Championships in Qatar.

This was even more one-sided than when she beat Venus 6-2, 6-2 in Miami in 2002. Serena has won the last five consecutive matches in their sibling rivalry.

The sisters, who grew up in the crime-ridden, drug-plagued streets of south Los Angeles, have played some competitive matches over the years but this certainly wasn’t one of them.

Serena won the opening set in just 22 minutes and clinched the match when Venus lobbed a return of serve high and well past the baseline.

Serena didn’t commit her first unforced error until early in the second set. She broke Venus in the first game of the second and never surrendered her serve the rest of the way.

Another break made it 5-2 and Serena held easily in the final game of the match.

The top-seeded Serena enters Sunday’s final riding a 10-match winning streak and shooting for her third title of the year.

She won in Miami last week and also captured the season-opener in Brisbane, Australia.

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Serbia’s Jankovic finished with five aces, one double fault and won 73 percent of her first-serve points against Voegele.

She has won four of nine career matches against Serena, including their only contest on clay in the semi-finals at Rome in 2010.

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