It’s been 14 years since the Williams sisters last played for the Australian Open title — but they’ll do it again on Saturday, in a final that showcases two of the most successful careers in tennis. At 36, Venus Williams is the oldest Grand Slam finalist since Martina Navratilova’s run to the Wimbledon final in 1994.
For now at least, the Australian Open’s final bracket is strictly for the over-30 club. On the men’s side, Roger Federer reached Sunday’s final with a five-set victory over Stan Wawrinka. At age 35, he’ll face either Rafael Nadal or Grigor Dimitrov, who play on Friday.
The women’s final “won’t be an easy match. I know that it won’t be easy,” Venus said after earning her spot. “You have to control yourself, then you also have to hopefully put your opponent in a box. This opponent is your sister, and she’s super awesome.”
Her sister Serena is indeed super awesome. At age 35, she’s the second-ranked player in the world and will play in her eighth Australian Open final after beating Mirjana Lucic-Baroni in just 50 minutes. World No. 1 Angelique Kerber didn’t reach the semifinals after losing to American CoCo Vandeweghe — who fell to Venus Williams in three sets Thursday.
With a combined age of 71 and the experience of decades of elite tennis, both of the Williams sisters are motivated to win this final. Their only other meeting for the Australian Open title came back in 2003, when Serena won.
For Venus, the match is her first Grand Slam singles final since Wimbledon in 2009. And while she has seven Grand Slam singles titles in her career, she’s never won the Australian Open.
For Serena, the final brings a chance to break the tie for most Grand Slam titles — 22 — that she currently shares with Steffi Graf. The mark is a record in the Open era.