INDIAN WELLS, CA, USA - No.8 seed Venus Williams is back into the BNP Paribas Open quarterfinals for the third time in her career, and she’s through without dropping a set.
Riding high after defeating sister Serena in the last round for the first time since 2014, Venus backed up the victory by taking down No.21 seed Anastasija Sevastova in straight sets, 7-6(6), 6-4.
“It was not an easy match to figure out,” Venus admitted in her on-court interview. “She has everything in her game. And it was a quick comeback from yesterday, where you have the emotions of, ‘Hey, this feels like a final! But guess what, you’re only in the fourth round.’”
She praised the Latvian in her press conference later, saying: "There were some points where she just played and it was too good. And I thought I was in control of the point and winning the point, and she turned it around. It's just real talent."
Venus trailed by a break for most of the opening set and started the second with a 0-3 deficit, but it wasn’t enough for Sevastova to put away the seven-time Grand Slam champion.
In fact, neither player could quite manage to shake off the other, especially during the closely contested opening set. After trading breaks to start, Sevastova got ahead with a third one, building up a 4-2 lead. But Venus came roaring back, winning the next 12 of 14 points to snatch up three games in a row.
After a titanic hustle to hold serve - with Sevastova having to fight off break points that would have handed Venus the set at 5-4 - the pair marched into a tiebreaker. It was just as close there as it was in the rest of the set, with just one minibreak making the difference for Venus.
Sevastova put away the disappointment of coming away empty-handed, starting off the second set on a tear with a 3-0 lead. But once again Venus refused to wilt, tracking down every drop shot and tricky slice the Latvian threw her way.
Venus was rewarded with a break back for 3-3, bringing them back on serve, and reeled off the next three of four games to make her way back into the Indian Wells quarterfinals after an hour and 48 minutes.
Carla Suarez Navarro awaits Venus in the quarterfinals.