Venus, Serena advance

Venus Williams can’t remember the last time she took on younger sister Serena on the tennis court. The next time could be coming up soon at the Family Circle Cup.

Venus and Serena both reached the quarterfinals of the Family Circle Cup on Thursday with straight set victories. Venus defeated Anastasia Rodionova 75, 6-2 on center court shortly after Serena ousted Marina Erakovic, 6-2, 6-2. Should the sisters win on Friday, it would set up a Saturday showdown in the semifinals.

“If we both get to the semifinal,” Venus said, “I guess the best Williams will win.”

Most times, that’s been Serena. She holds a 13-10 edge in the family rivalry, although the two have not met since Serena took the title at the 2009 WTA Championships in Qatar.

Serena holds a 7-5 advantage over her sister at grand slam events and has won six of the eight times the two of faced off for major titles.

Serena also wasn’t yet prepping to face the player on tour she knows the best, although she was rooting for the matchup. “I have to win another match,” Serena said. “I really hope we both get there, so we’ll see.”

Serena Williams, ranked 10th in the world, might have the easier time of it. She’ll go up against 2009 Family Circle winner Sabine Lisicki, who stands 13th in the WTA rankings. The last time the two met, Williams won on the way to the Bank of the West title last summer.

“It can only get better,” Lisicki said.

Venus, 87th in the world, hadn’t played in more than six month until last week’s Sony Ericsson Open. She could face the Family Circle’s No. 2 seed and reigning U.S. Open champion Samantha Stosur.

Other winners included No. 4 seed Vera Zvonereva, No. 13 seed Nadia Petrova and No. 9 seed Lucie Safarova. Third-seeded Marion Bartoli fell to the 14th seed, Polona Hercog, who overcame a 4-2 deficit in the third set to advance.