Collision course

Serena Williams plays Marina Erakovic Thursday April 5, 2012 at the Family Circle Cup. (Grace Beahm/postandcourier.com)

It has been nearly three years since they last met in a tournament.

But if sisters Venus and Serena Williams can take care of business today, they will have a play date Saturday in the Family Circle Cup semifinals on Daniel Island. The two former champions, who both have been ranked No. 1 in the world, scored straight-set quarterfinal victories Thursday.

Serena, the 2008 Family Circle Cup winner who is ranked No. 10 in the world and the tournament’s No. 5 seed, defeated New Zealand’s Marina Erakovic, 6-2, 6-2, to earn a date against 2009 winner Sabine Lisicki.

Venus, who won the 2004 title but is now ranked 87th, scored a 7-5, 6-2 win over Anastasia Rodionova of Australia. She will face 2010 winner Samantha Stosur or Galina Voskoboeva.

Serena holds a 13-10 edge in head-to-head matchups with her older sister and has won four straight, the last time in the 2009 WTA Tour Championship. Venus’ last win came in Dubai in 2009.

“If we get to the semifinal, I guess the best Williams will win,” Venus said after her win Thursday.

“We’ll see who that will be, but one more step. I don’t know who she plays.”

Serena is looking forward to the potential matchup with Venus.

“I didn’t even look at the draw,” Serena said, pointing that there were still matches before the sisters could compete in a family feud. “I really, really hope we both get there. So, we’ll see.”

Serena struggled in her fourth game against Erakovic on Thursday, a battle in which there were six deuce points with Erakovic tying the match at 2-2.

“That was kind of frustrating because I spent 15 minutes to lose. I’d rather have lost in three minutes or two minutes,” she said.

“I think that definitely put pressure on her to know that my return was looking good. I thought she served really well. Even though I lost the game … you know, you lose the battle but you win the war kind of thing.”

Serena went on to win the next four games to close out the first set, then scored four aces in the final set, breaking Erakovic twice and ending the match in 1 hour, 28 minutes.

Venus had a more difficult time in her first set against Rodionova, who won three straight games to go ahead, 4-2.

But Venus came back and won three straight as well. With the match tied at 5, Venus held serve and then broke Rodionova for the first-set win. The second set turned out to be a lot easier as she won the final four games to advance in 1:17.

“I got down a break point, but thankfully I got the break back,” Venus said. “I always feel really good in those situations where it’s tight, so that feels good.

“At the end of the match, especially once I got that break for 4-2, I felt better and better. She was playing the ball well, trying to take it early in the beginning and serving to the corners. I have to give her credit for playing well and taking opportunities.”