Venus Williams won a battle of WTA veterans against Svetlana Kuznetsova, wrapping up the Monday night session and snatching the final Miami Open quarterfinal spot.
WTA Staff

MIAMI, FL, USA - Venus Williams won a battle of WTA veterans against Svetlana Kuznetsova, wrapping up the Monday night session and snatching the final Miami Open quarterfinal spot, 6-3, 7-6(4).

Both players are former champions - with Kuznetsova winning in 2006 and three-time champion Venus in 1998, 1999 and 2001 - and they drew from their long experience in Miami during their thrilling quarterfinal.

"When I first won here I had braces!" Venus joked in her on-court interview. "So it's been a long time. I'm so happy to be here."

Venus took advantage of an uncharacteristically slow start from Kuznetsova to break the Russian in her very first service game. She took the opening set in less than 37 minutes, bossing the rallies with her punishing groundstrokes and not letting Kuznetsova gain any foothold into the match.

But when Kuznetsova went down another early break in the second, she recovered emphatically to break right back. The pair stayed on serve, with Venus battling away two of Kuznetsova's set points at 6-5 to send the match to a tiebreaker.

She was an early minibreak down in the tiebreak, but Venus found her vintage form just in time to avoid a third set, surging through to win six points in a row and seal the match.

"[Svetlana] played well, she's like a wall, we've had a lot of epic matches in the past," Venus said. "To come back in that tiebreaker was a great moment for me.

"When you're down 4-1, you tell yourself, 'If you hold and break it's even.' That's what I told myself."

Venus will be pleased with her performance, which saw her hit almost twice as many winners than Kuznetsova - 27 to the Russian's 15 - despite her unforced error count being 31 against 20. Her serve was working well, and she won 78% of points behind her first delivery.

She'll look to keep her form into the quarterfinals, where she's set to face World No.1 Angelique Kerber.