ROME, Italy - Venus Williams displayed vintage form to knock out No.5 seed Johanna Konta, 6-1, 3-6, 6-1, to book her spot in the Internazionali BNL d'Italia quarterfinals.
"I love this tournament, and I love Rome," she said after the match. "It's one of my favorite places on earth, so that's one of the reasons why I have always come here.
"I have had a good amount of success here. Probably sometimes that it wasn't that great, but I'd never leave Rome early; let's put it that way. I always stay."
Since the five-time Wimbledon winner beat Konta in their first meeting at the 2015 Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open, the British No.1 had gotten the better of her American rival in three straight matches: at the Australian Open, Bank of the West Classic, and most recently in the Miami Open semifinal, which she went on to win.
Eager to reverse the trend, Williams rolled through the opening set, hitting 10 winners to just four unforced errors and forcing the already-aggressive Konta to go for more off the ground, ultimately striking 13 errors to nine winners.
The second set came down to a titanic eighth game, where the Brit converted her fifth break point of the set to take the initiative and level the match.
"In the first set I was happy to have been able to close it out with a double break. In the second set, it was like sometimes I felt like there were moments where I had a chance and she would have a strong hold and it was just one break."
Venus saved a break point early in the ensuing decider and eventually regained her rhythm to pick up where she'd left off in the first set, finishing the match with 32 winners and breaking serve twice more to clinch victory in one hour and 49 minutes.
"I just kind of felt like I want to do the right things out here. It was really a moment of that, playing the big points well, and she gave me a few errors, which is always helpful."
Up next for the American is defending French Open champion and 2016 Rome semifinalist, Garbiñe Muguruza.
"It's so different when you're talking about it or when you're playing it, you know," she said about her chances at Roland Garros. "When you're playing it, it's a lot of work. There is not even one point that is given.
"There is rarely an easy game, 40-Love games. My whole thing about it is to try to win my match no matter who I play against.
"I hope to have more luck and more skill."