Reigning Champ Reaches QFs

Venus Williams was lethal yet compassionate as she moved into the quarterfinals Monday.

Published June 29, 2009 03:19


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LONDON, UK - The Williams sisters cruised into the quarterfinals of The Championships on Monday, as all eight round of 16 matches took the slick green lawns of the All-England Club. World No.1 Dinara Safina also moved on.

Venus Williams, the No.3 seed, was the first of the devastating duo to advance to the final eight, winning the first set and dropping the first game of the second set before No.13 seed Ana Ivanovic retired with a left thigh injury. Ivanovic was in visible distress with the 61 01 retirement result; Williams sympathized.

"I don't know the last time I won in these circumstances - I don't think ever in a Slam. She was in a lot of pain," Williams said. "I'm one of those players who only pays attention to what's going on on their side of the net, but today I felt really sad for her. She was really upset. This is the last place you want to have an injury you can't overcome. I wish her a lot of luck in her recovery."

"When I was serving 30-40 down in that first game, after my first serve, I felt a sharp pain on my inner thigh when I landed," Ivanovic said. "I couldn't step on my leg ever since. It was really disappointing, especially since I felt my form was getting better. I'll just have to look forward to my next tournament."

Next up for Williams is No.11 seed Agnieszka Radwanska, who ended the run of qualifier Melanie Oudin in a tight two-setter, 64 75.

Williams lost her first ever meeting with Radwanska but has won three in a row since; and that first meeting came during Williams' injury-marred 2006 season, during which she only played six tournaments.

"She's obviously very talented. She plays a different game style, but she is very effective at it. Apparently she likes this surface, and obviously she's playing well to be in the quarters," Williams said. "But I don't think much about what the person on the other side of the net is doing. I'll pretty much focus on my side."

"I have nothing to lose. She's a great champion here. I'll try my best," said Radwanska, who will be playing in her third Grand Slam quarterfinal, having lost at that stage at the Australian Open and Wimbledon last year. "If Venus is playing good tennis and having a good day, it's very tough to play against her."

Serena Williams, the No.2 seed, followed her sister into the quarterfinal round with a 63 61 win over an unseeded Daniela Hantuchova.

Next up for Williams is No.8 seed Victoria Azarenka, who made her second straight Grand Slam quarterfinal with a 76(5) 26 63 win over No.10 seed Nadia Petrova. Azarenka reached her first Grand Slam quarterfinal at the French Open four weeks ago; she also beat Williams in the most recent of their three encounters, in straight sets the final of Miami earlier this year.

"She's obviously a good player and very young. She has nothing to lose," Williams said of Azarenka. "But this is Wimbledon. I'm feeling the same way."

Safina, who had never been beyond the third round here previously but the top seed this year, reached the quarterfinals with a 46 63 64 win over No.17 seed Amélie Mauresmo. She will next face the unseeded Sabine Lisicki, who notched her second straight Top 10 upset, following up her third round win over No.5 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova with a 64 64 win over No.9 seed Caroline Wozniacki. Lisicki has won her only previous meeting with Safina, in three sets in the first round of last year's Australian Open.

Rounding out the last eight were No.4 seed Elena Dementieva, who beat Elena Vesnina, 61 63, and Francesca Schiavone, who pulled off a minor upset over No.26 seed Virginie Razzano, 62 76(1). Dementieva and Schiavone have split their eight career meetings, and this will be their first on grass.

"I know Francesca very well. I used to play in the juniors with her," Dementieva said. "She has a good grass court game. She has a good slice and some tricky shots with her forehand, and she's aggressive with her serve. She has done quite well this tournament. I expect a tough match against her."

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