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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 20 January 2019

Venus Williams calls for more women's matches at MWTC after edging sister Serena in her first Abu Dhabi appearance

Duo put on entertaining tussle in Zayed Sports City as Venus prevailed 4-6, 6-3, 10-8 with final set played as champions's tie-break

Venus Williams came out on top of the first duel between the Williams sisters in Abu Dhabi as she won her exhibition match against younger sibling Serena at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship (MWTC) on Thursday.

The two women, with 30 grand slam titles between them, put on an entertaining tussle at the International Tennis Centre in Zayed Sports City as Venus prevailed 4-6, 6-3, 10-8 with the final set played as champions's tie-break.

Venus said of the match: "It was a lot of fun. We both went out there and tested our games."

The second women's match at the MWTC, after Serena had lost to Jelena Ostapenko 12 months, proved to be a relaxed affair with the two sisters smiling and sharing comments with each other during the 90-minute encounter.

Such was Venus's enjoyment of the match that she hopes the MWTC will expand to have more women's competitive action at the event in the future.

"I wish I had a few more matches here," the 38 year old said. "I think there should be a women's tournament."

After the pair had exchanged breaks in the first set, it was Serena's powerful forehand that made all the difference.

On her third set point the 37 year old stepped into a short serve from Venus and crunched it back across court.

Venus did well to get her racket on her ball, but all she could do was parry it to the ground as she stretched and the first set was Serena's.

Serena Williams was playing her second match at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi. Francois Nel / Getty Images
Serena Williams was playing her second match at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi. Francois Nel / Getty Images

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More on MWTC:

MWTC: Complete player guide as Djokovic, Nadal and Serena Williams head to Abu Dhabi

The Serena Williams interview: Taking on older sister Venus is 'the ultimate rivalry'

Rafael Nadal ready to get 'best preparation' for 2019 season at Mubadala event

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Both women had failed to convince on their service, particularly their second serve, in the first set and that narrative continued.

The first three games of the second set all ended in breaks, with Venus going on to take the set 6-3 as she hit a number of winners off her sister's serve.

The champion's tie-break saw both women in the ascendancy, but on her first match point it was Venus who could celebrate as Serena's chipped volley fell wide into the tramlines.

Serena, who will bid to equal Margaret Court's record of 24 grand slam titles at the Australian Open in January, had said earlier on Thursday before she stepped out on court that she was aware she would have to raise her game from 2018 if she is to get that historic title.

"It is something I clearly want but I have to be able to get there I am going to have to beat a lot of good tennis players to get there," she said.

Her match with Venus on Thursday was her first appearance on a tennis court in public since her US Open loss to Naomi Osaka in September but said she is in good shape for 2019.

"Feeling good," she said of the state of her preparations. "It has been a couple of months of training now so I am getting ready for the new year."

In Thursday's other action, Kevin Anderson and Karen Khachanov were victors in their respective men's quarter-finals against Hyeon Chung and Dominic Thiem.

Anderson, the defending MWTC champion, will take on Rafael Nadal in Friday's first semi-final at 5pm.

Khachanov will go up against world No 1 Novak Djokovic at 7pm.

Updated: December 28, 2018 10:21 AM

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