NEW YORK, NY, USA - Venus Williams' vintage 2017 season continued Sunday night with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 win over the unseeded but dangerous Carla Suárez Navarro to advance into the quarterfinals of the US Open.
"I was happy about this match because she wasn't seeded here, but obviously she knows how to play," Venus said of her long rivalry with Suárez Navarro, extending her head-to-head to 5-3 overall. "She's played deep in the majors. She's won big titles.
"This was my best match, so I was happy to see my level rise as the tournament is continuing because I know my opponents are going to be better, I need to be better. To be able to be out there and execute things that I wanted, it was a good feeling."
Venus has enjoyed a career renaissance this year, reaching two Grand Slam finals at the Australian Open and Wimbledon, and displaying a consistency that allowed her to be one of eight women in the hunt for the WTA World No.1 ranking at the end of the fortnight.
Though Garbiñe Muguruza's run to the fourth round knocked her out of contention for now, the American is nonetheless playing stellar tennis in New York, recovering from a second-set hiccup to strike 31 winners to 32 unforced errors against Suárez Navarro, a former World No.6, and earn the victory after nearly two hours on court.
"In the beginning of the second, she definitely caught fire. There were probably a few points I could have converted on, but honestly it was all credit to her for really stepping up her level.
"In the third set, maybe she was a little nervous, and it was an opportunity for me to be even more aggressive. That's what I tried to do."
The Spaniard was unseeded at a major tournament for the first time since the 2013 Australian Open after injuries from earlier in the season eroded her ranking, but looks to be building momentum after a successful week at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, where she earned impressive victories over Mirjana Lucic-Baroni and Ekaterina Makarova en route to the fourth round.
Up next for the American veteran is the winner of a highly anticipated Round of 16 clash between reigning Wimbledon winner Muguruza and former World No.2 Petra Kvitova.
"I've had some wins against her. She's had a couple against me this year that I'm going to have to think back to and obviously learn from.
"[Winning Wimbledon] was a big moment for her. I'm happy for her. I was happy for her in that moment. I know what that feels like to win a big title. There was nothing I could do but be happy for her, get ready for the next one."
Venus also spoke on Kvitova's courageous comeback from all the adversity she's faced in the last 10 months.
"What she's gone through is unimaginable, unreasonable. The world we live in is just shocking. So for her, I think to be playing well is such a blessing. To be able to come out here and do what she needs to do, to clear her head, it's such a beautiful thing to see."