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28 Jun 2008 18:37
A ruthless Venus Williams and a hobbling Jelena Jankovic restored some order to the women’s draw on Saturday to keep their grand slam hopes alive heading into the second week of Wimbledon.
Champion Williams, seeking a fifth title at the All England Club, dispatched Spanish qualifier Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez 6-1 7-5 and heads for a fourth-round meeting with little-known Russian Alisa Kleybanova.
Following the shock exits of top seed Ana Ivanovic and former champion Maria Sharapova and, with Serena Williams also hitting her stride, the Williams sisters are now favourites to contest their third final at the All England Club on July 5.
Venus Williams had little more than a comfortable workout against Martinez Sanchez, racing into a 5-0 lead and though her 101st ranked opponent interrupted the run, the 28-year-old American sealed the set.
The Spaniard provided stiffer resistance in the second before Williams ended the match with her fastest delivery of the day, a 204km/h thunderbolt.
“I was happy with that one,” Williams told reporters. “The first set was pretty clean.
The second set she just changed her strategy, started playing better and got that break back.
“You know, I was pretty happy because she started putting some pressure on. I had some good answers.”
Second seed Jankovic has yet to make the final of a grand slam and the Serb’s hopes of progressing further in the tournament will depend much on how quickly she recovers from a knee injury sustained against Danish 17-year-old Caroline Wozniacki.
Jankovic strained her left knee at the start of the match but came through 2-6 6-4 6-2. The 23-year-old, clearly struggling to move around the court, took a medical timeout at the start of the third set but, despite wincing in pain at the end of every point, was able to subdue Wozniacki before heading for the treatment table.
“It’s a little bit swollen at the moment, but I don’t think it’s that bad,” Jankovic told reporters.
“I have pain on it, but, you know, I don’t play tomorrow, and hopefully now I can get some treatment and feel better for my next match.”
Despite Sharapova’s early exit, four Russian women booked their places in the last 16.
Alla Kudryavtseva, conqueror of the 2004 champion and third seed on Thursday, continued her dream run by ousting China’s Peng Shuai 6-3 1-6 6-4 while fifth-seeded Russian Elena Dementieva stayed on course to match her run to the quarterfinals two years ago with a patchy 7-6 7-5 win over Argentine Gisela Dulko.
Nadia Petrova, seeded 21, put out 16th-seeded Belarussian Victoria Azarenka 7-6 7-6 and Kleybanova beat Japan’s Ai Sugiyama 6-4 6-4. - Reuters
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