SAPAKOFF COLUMN: The numbers tell the tale of a rare Venus and Serena Williams doubleheader at the Family Circle Cup
Back to back.
Same green clay.
The Serena and Venus Show was a dream doubleheader for any other tournament. Both Williams sisters are former Family Circle Cup champions — Venus in 2004, Serena in 2008 — but on Thursday they reached the Family Circle Cup quarterfinals for the first time in the same year.
Numbers tell the rare tale:
Five: Minutes it took for the first “C’mon, Serena!” shout to the crowd favorite. The support seemed to help. Williams went on to cruise past New Zealand’s Mariana Erakovic, 6-2, 6-2.
121: Miles per hour, more or less, on Venus Williams’ serves during her 7-5, 6-2 victory over Anastasia Rodionova.
“I kind of had a shoulder problem before Miami,” Venus said, “so I couldn’t serve big. And it actually worked out for me because I learned to serve smarter, and I’ve kind of kept with that motif.”
4-13-04: The only other time in Family Circle Cup history that both Williams sisters made it through matches healthy on the same day. Venus, on the way to winning the 2004 title, defeated Samantha Reeves, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3. Serena steamrolled Kelly McCain, 6-1, 6-0, but suffered a knee injury during a round of 16 match against Conchita Martinez and was forced to withdraw.
Zero: Serena clothing changes during her Thursday match. Despite the heat, she stuck with a long-sleeve royal blue top to go with black shorts and lime green bandana and wrist bands.
“I like to wear long sleeves,” Serena explained. “I don’t have to put sun cream on my shoulders. It’s easier.”
‘Not just today’
20: Combined Grand Slam singles titles for the Williams sisters — 13 for Serena, seven for Venus.
$5.25: Cost of a Daufuskie smoothie at Diegos Frozen Drinks aside stadium court. The mix of strawberry, orange juice and coconut is ideal while taking in a Williams match.
10: Months since the Williams sisters played in the same non-Grand Slam tournament. Eastbourne (England) in June 2011.
No. 8: Serena’s spot in the WTA Tour singles rankings, and trending.
“I’m really excited to be playing a match and some matches here because it really gives you confidence in things that you want to work on,” she said, “not just for today and tomorrow but for the rest of the clay court season and the spring leading into the summer.”
$62,931,788: Combined career prize money — $34,962,357 for Serena (first all-time) and $27,969,431 for Venus (second all-time).
Twice: Total previous Venus- Serena combo appearances on Daniel Island. The Williams sisters played in the same Family Circle Cup in 2004 and 2007.
1980: Reportedly the year Richard Williams watched on television as former pro Virginia Ruzici of Romania won a tour event in Salt Lake City. Williams was so impressed, he set about preparing his daughters for tennis careers.
134: Venus Williams’ WTA Tour ranking two weeks ago. Recovering from a fatigue-causing autoimmune disease, she tumbled in the rankings before jumping back to No. 87 with a quarterfinals run in Miami last month. Post-Charleston, Venus is expected to at least reach the top 80.
“I never overexert anymore. That’s one thing I don’t do,” Venus said about health concerns. “It’s great, because I think a lot of people go into matches and they’re worried about their game and I don’t worry about that anymore. My priorities are completely different.”
466: Days between the births of Venus, 31, and Serena, 30. Both have displayed vintage Williams tennis most of Thursday afternoon.
Thank you, Virginia Ruzici.
Reach Gene Sapakoff at 953-5593 or via Twitter: @sapakoff.