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Friday 22 September 2017

Venus out to knock Serena off top spot

The seemingly endless sibling rivalry between the Williams sisters shows no sign of abating, with Venus eager to grab the world's top ranking from younger sister Serena before the French Open fortnight finishes.

Venus, 29, took her first step towards a maiden Roland Garros title on Sunday with a typically pugnacious 6-3 6-3 win over seasoned Swiss Patty Schnyder, and her mind is not just on the crown but she is also intent on prising the world number one spot away from younger sister Serena.

Astonishingly, the Williams sisters come into Roland Garros as first and second seeds for the first time at a grand slam since the 2003 Australian Open, and Venus wants the rankings reversed.

"It feels good to be moving up the ranks. Obviously when you get to number two of course the next dream is number one. So that's definitely on my radar," Venus said after the 80-minute workout on a baked Court Suzanne Lenglen.

"Everybody wants to be number one," added Venus, who lost the 2002 final to her sister, after defeating Schnyder for an 11th straight time.

"It means a lot, day in, day out, all the hours that I put in. When you get to the top of the rankings it's definitely a pat on the back. I want to put the work in to be able to get there."

Somdev Devvarman's French Open adventure ended yesterday when he lost a topsy-turvy first-round match against Swiss Marco Chiudinelli.

India's first male to play in the main singles draw at Roland Garros for 13 years bowed out 6-3 3-6 6-3 3-6 6-3, but the Texas-based 25-year-old is convinced that he is close to breaking into the world's top 100. Having former world number one Andy Roddick as his practice partner certainly helps his chances.

"We are on different schedules but I play with Andy whenever I can," said Devvarman, who grew up playing on "slippery clay courts" in Chennai before studying in the US. "It's fun to watch a guy who's been top 10 eight years running."

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