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Williams Sisters Cruise Into Last Four

Serena and Venus Williams closed in on a third Olympic doubles title on Thursday with victory over No.2 seeds Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci.

Published August 02, 2012 08:08

Williams Sisters Cruise Into Last Four
Serena and Venus Williams

LONDON, England - Serena and Venus Williams moved within touching distance of a third Olympic doubles title on Thursday when they knocked out No.2 seeds Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci.

In a surprisingly one-sided contest, the Williams sisters set the tone early on, breaking for a 3-1 lead before wrapping up the opening set in just 23 minutes. Another break in the first game of the second saw them take a stranglehold of the match that they would not relinquish, wrapping up a 61 61 win shortly afterwards.

Facing them for a place in the final will be No.3 seeds Maria Kirilenko and Nadia Petrova, who won a marathon encounter with China's Peng Shuai and Zheng Jie. The match, carried over from Wednesday evening, resumed with the Russians a set up and before long they had arrived at match point.

Yet Peng and Zheng were not about to give up on their Olympic dreams without a fight, saving this and three more match points before leveling the match up on a tie-break. Carrying this momentum into the decider, they soon moved a break ahead and held two points for 4-1 lead.

Their failure to convert either of these points would prove their undoing, as Kirilenko and Petrova hit back to win five of the next six games to triumph, 75 67(4) 64.

On the other side of the draw, the Czech Republic's Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka came through a tricky encounter with Hsieh Su-Wei and Chuang Chia-Jung to book a semifinal meeting with top seeds Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond.

After racing out of the blocks, Hlavackova and Hradecka endured a slight mid-match wobble before eventually prevailing, 63 64.

"We started very solid, no mistakes, great serves as we saw they were a bit nervous," Hlavackova said. "Then the nerves came in for us and we became a little shaky, but I'm happy we handled it and finished it in two sets."

Huber and Raymond secured their place 24 hours earlier with a comfortable win over Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina.

Huber was in action on Thursday, though, suffering a surprise 76(5) 67(5) 105 defeat alongside Bob Bryan to Germany's Sabine Lisicki and Christopher Kas in the mixed doubles.

Other teams advancing to the quarterfinals included home favorites Laura Robson and Andy Murray and India's Sania Mirza and Leander Paes.

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