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Monday, March 29, 1999 Published at 08:33 GMT

Sport: Tennis

Venus triumphs in family affair

Venus (left) and Serena made history

Ian Carter reports for BBC Radio 5 Live
Venus Williams defeated her younger sister Serena in three sets in an historic final to win her second consecutive Lipton Championship title at Key Biscayne, Florida.

In the first major women's tennis final between sisters since Maud Watson defeated older sister Lilian to win the 1894 Wimbledon title, the sixth seed and elder sister triumphed 6-1 4-6 6-4.

Venus Williams
The win means a $265,000 first prize - not to mention bragging rights within family Williams.

"It's difficult to play against your sister," Venus admitted as she accepted the trophy.

"But whoever I play - I play to win."

[ image: Serena Williams: Her winning streak came to an end]
Serena Williams: Her winning streak came to an end
Their father Richard Williams admitted his emotions got the better of him as he saw his two teenage daughters play in what could prove the first of many family finals.

"I really thought I was going to cry," he said after leaving the arena early. "I felt too ugly to be out there crying so I left."

Venus, who won her fifth career WTA crown, beat her sister in both prior WTA meetings in straight sets - at the Australian Open and Italian Open last year.

Winning run over

Serena, seeded 16th, saw her 16-match win streak come to an end, although she takes comfort from the knowledge that she rises to 11th in the ATP rankings.

The 18-year-old Venus took the first set after dominating her sister with blistering forehands.

Serena Williams
But Serena, just a year younger at 17, showed her growing maturity by refusing to be intimidated by her more experienced opponent, and initiated a powerful baseline counter attack to take the second set 6-4.

Both players went for broke in the third and final set, Venus pulling into a 3-1 lead before Serena levelled things at 4-4.

Serena and Venus' father Richard: "I was Venus' power that counted"
But it was Venus who found the winning touch, breaking her sister to go 5-4 and holding her serve to cement her status as the better Williams for now.

After losing, Serena set her sights on gaing revenge against her sibling rival: "Now that I am playing more, I'm certain I will have another chance to play her again in a final.

"I didn't consider her my sister. I considered her my opponent."

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