TORONTO, Canada - No.9 seed Venus Williams edged in-form Ericsson Open champion Katerina Siniakova to reach the third round out the Rogers Cup in Toronto on Wednesday, 7-5, 7-5.
The win for the American sets up a highly-anticipated third round clash against No.5 seed Elina Svitolina with a spot in the quarterfinals on the line.
After playing her opening round match on Monday night, and scoring her first-ever win in Toronto, Williams did not need to wait long for her second win in the city.
"It was definitely not a given, it was well-earned," Williams said. "I would like to build on that to win number three. I've waited a long time for win number three, too, and I think I've got a pretty good chance to do that.
"In the day, the sun is moving so you have to watch where you're serving - the wind was blowing, but the other night too, it got colder and the rain came. Both of us are dealing with it, so it at least makes it an even playing field."
Williams snapped Siniakova's six-match winning streak in style, as the American thumped 32 winners, including 12 aces, to just nine unforced errors in the one hour, 39-minute victory.
Siniakova hung with the seven-time Grand Slam champion every step of the way, hitting 23 winners to just seven unforced over the course of the match, and twice broke Williams' serve in the first set.
Williams scored two breaks in two of the first three games of the match to take a commanding early lead, but the 20-year-old Czech soon worked her way into the match. Getting one break back in the fourth game, Siniakova saved her best for when Williams served for the set, earning her second break to level the opener at 5-5.
However, the seven-time major champion responded in short order with a love break, and served out the set after the change of ends to firmly restore momentum in her favor.
Siniakova stayed close for the entirety of the second set, holding strong in her service games - which saw her save five break points in the seventh game and another two in the ninth game.
However, after saving her eighth of the set in her final serve game, Czech was unable to save a ninth as Williams grabbed a 6-5 lead, and served out the match on her fourth match point after Siniakova once again battled back from 40-0.
The round of 16 sees the American face Svitolina for the second time, after she scored a 6-4, 6-3 win in Rome two years ago.
"I haven't played her in ages, so we'll see how that works out," Williams said of Svitolina. "I mean, she's had a great season I think as well. She's had some wins...so I'm sure she'll be confident in the match, and I should be fairly confident too."