Serena Williams vs Venus Williams - how competitive have their grand slam battles been?

Venus and Serena will meet for the 16th time at a major at the US Open on Friday evening - AP
Venus and Serena will meet for the 16th time at a major at the US Open on Friday evening - AP

For the first time since the Australian Open final last year, Serena faces sister Venus Williams at a grand slam on Friday evening at the US Open.

Venus joked of Serena's victory in Melbourne last January that she was at a disadvantage seeing as it was "two against one", a reference to Serena being eight weeks pregnant when she lifted her 23rd major trophy.

When the sisters meet in Flushing Meadows tonight, it will be their 30th meeting of their careers and 16th contest at a grand slam.

While Venus had the upper hand at the start of their battles, the baton was handed over to Serena at the 2002 French Open final and the head-to-head count has been heavily weighted in the 36-year-old's favour ever since.

Venus, at two years older, has won just five of their 15 major showdowns, with only three encounters requiring a third set decider. It leads us to look at how competitive their duels have been over the years.

Let's start at the beginning - over 20 years ago.

Australian Open 1998 second round

Victor: Venus 7-6, 6-1

The contest attracted more attention than any other second-round encounter had previously, such was the interest and hype surrounding the sisters. The New York Post the following day splashed with a picture of Venus consoling Serena.

Competitive rating: 4/10  

Venus Williams and sister Serena raise their arms after their center court match at the Australian Open  - Credit: AP
Credit: AP

Wimbledon 2000 semi-finals

Victor:Venus 6-2, 7-6

"It's not really so much fun", Venus said after watching Serena double fault on match point. Overcoming Lindsay Davenport in the final for her first single's grand slam trophy softened the blow.

Competitive rating: 5/10

US Open 2001 final

Victor: Venus 6-2, 6-4

Venus by now had three slams in the bag compared to her younger sister's one going into the match, and she extended that lead to 4-1 with a comfortable straight sets win in New York.

Competitiveness rating: 4/10

Venus poses with the US Open trophy - Credit: Reuters
Credit: Reuters

French Open 2002 final

Victor:Serena won 7-5, 6-3

The younger Williams recorded the first of four consecutive slam final wins over her sister with a straight sets success at Roland Garros. 

Competitiveness rating: 5/10

Wimbledon 2002 final

Victor: Serena won 7-6, 6-3

Venus had won Wimbledon the previous two years, but Serena beat her in straight sets to capture the title and the world No 1 ranking for the first time.

Competitiveness rating: 5/10

Venus and Serena leave the Wimbledon centre court with their trophies - Credit: PA
Credit: PA

US Open 2002 final

Victor:Serena won 6-4, 6-3

Williams Jr easily defeated her sister again to ensure she won the tournament without dropping a set, as she had done at Wimbledon a couple of months earlier. 

Competitiveness rating: 4/10

Australian Open 2003 final

Victor: Serena won 7-6, 3-6, 6-4

Serena won her fourth straight major to complete the 'Serena Slam', but she was made to fight extremely hard in one of only two three-set finals between the sisters.

Competitiveness rating: 8/10

Serena Williams (left) of the USA looks across to her sister Venus Williams - Credit: Getty Images
Credit: Getty Images

Wimbledon 2003 final

Victor: Serena won 4-6, 6-4, 6-2

Venus looked on course to beat her younger sister at last despite carrying an injury going into the match. Serena rallied though and came through in three sets. 

Competitiveness rating: 8/10

US Open 2005 fourth round

Victor: Venus 7-6, 6-2

Having not faced each other for the whole of 2004, Venus ended a five-match winning sequence for Serena in their slam duels with a comfortable victory. 

Competitiveness rating: 7/10

Venus Williams, left, walks away after winning a point as Serena Williams reacts  - Credit: AP
Credit: AP

Wimbledon 2008 final

Victor:Venus won 7-5, 6-4

It was Venus' time again as she put five successive final defeats to her little sis behind her with her own fifth Wimbledon title. 

Competitiveness rating: 7/10

US Open 2008 quarter-final

Victor: Serena 7-6, 7-6

An epic encounter which witnessed some stunningly long rallies and had the crowd up on their feet in admiration throughout. Serena trailed 5-3 in each set, saving set points before forcing and winning two tiebreaks. Serena went on to win her third title in New York and regained the world No 1 ranking in the process.

Competitiveness rating: 9/10

Serena Williams reacts after her victory - Credit: AP
Credit: AP

Wimbledon 2009 final

Victor:Serena won 7-6, 6-2

Serena exacted revenge on the final defeat a year earlier with a routine straight-sets win. Venus had not reached a slam final since until this week. Serena reached 13 in that time.

Competitiveness rating: 5/10

Wimbledon 2015 fourth round

Victor: Serena 6-4, 6-3

Six years after their last head-to-head, this was a one-sided affair that lasted just over an hour. 

Competitiveness rating: 5/10

Venus gives her sister a warm embrace - Credit: Heathcliff O'Malley
Credit: Heathcliff O'Malley

US Open 2015 quarter-final

Victor: Serena 6-2, 1-6, 6-3

"It's never easy to play someone you love and care about," Serena said after another victory. "You just play for the competition and enjoy the moment.

"I thought, 'I'm 33 and she's 35, I don't know how many more moments like this you're going to have'."

Competitiveness rating: 5/10

Australian Open 2017 final

Victor: Serena 6-4, 6-4 

Serena hails Venus as her "inspiration" after claiming an Open-era record 23rd grand slam title. It transpires that Serena was eight-weeks pregnant at the time of her victory and was the last major she featured at in 2017.

Competitiveness rating: 6/10

Serena Williams poses with the Daphne Akhurst Trophy - Credit: Getty Images
Credit: Getty Images