Tennis

Serena beats Venus in exhibition

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JOHANNESBURG (AP)

Serena Williams delivered on her promise to avenge an earlier loss to Venus, beating her 6-3, 6-4 in South Africa on Sunday for just her fourth win in 13 exhibition matches between the sisters.

Serena Williams

WINNING WAYS

Serena Williams knows championships. Take a look back at her 17 Grand Slam singles titles.

Serena, the current Wimbledon, US Open and Olympic champion, lost in straight sets to Venus in Nigeria on Friday.

Venus laughed and joked and played to the crowd throughout the match at Ellis Park Indoor Arena.

Serena was serious in the first set but lightened up in the second, rallying with a delighted ball girl at one point while Venus left the court for a bathroom break.

The youngster — playing with the racket of Venus — took Serena by surprise with a cross-court forehand winner after a series of gentle shots back and forth, delighting 4,000 fans at Ellis Park Indoor Arena in Johannesburg and earning a hug from Serena at the net.

''South Africa, you guys are completely amazing,'' Serena said. ''I've loved my time I've had here. It's been incredible. I have to come back and spend weeks here on vacation.''

As during their match in Lagos, Venus laughed and joked and played up to the crowd throughout the contest.

Serena was serious in the first set but lightened up in the second as the duo produced a flurry of powerful serves, extended rallies and sizzling winners, which thumped into the advertising boards behind the baseline.

''Did you see the point where I had to hit five volleys and still got passed?'' Venus said.

Venus gave a little fist pump and a smile after an ace in the fourth game, then an extravagant bow at the crowd's applause for her big backhand winner in the next.

After a standout year in which she won seven titles and went 31-1, Serena cracked a smile when Venus sent what should have been an easy winner into the net late in the first set.

With her big serve working well, Serena laughed in the second set when she slipped and fell on the court — only for Venus to miss another simple winner.

Serena broke for a 4-2 lead in the first set and again after a hectic rally to lead 5-4 in the second. Afterward, the sisters disappeared among a throng of fans to sign autographs on the edge of the court.

South Africa Minister of Sport Fikile Mbalula requested the popular pair return for another visit.

''This won't be their last visit to South Africa,'' Mbalula said. ''If they don't want to come back, we'll chase them on Twitter and find them.''

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