Venus Williams declared she was playing the best tennis of her career after demolishing Ukrainian 27th seed Alona Bondarenko 6-2, 6-1 in the third round of the US Open on Saturday.
The American seventh seed hammered down nine aces and lashed 32 winners to set up a clash with ninth seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland.
The 28-year-old has not reached a grand-slam final outside of Wimbledon since 2003.
But having won her fifth All England Club crown last month and taken a doubles gold medal at the Olympics, the American is full of confidence.
”I think I’m definitely at my best now,” the seventh seed told reporters.
”I think I understand the game more. Trying different kind of shots, too, lately. Trying to add some variety.”
Williams said her triumph in London had made her a more relaxed player.
”I think the Wimbledon win helped me a lot to change my mentality, to realise not everything had to be perfect all the time,” she said.
”That’s helped me — if I don’t have a perfect practice, I don’t get really upset about the whole tournament. I think that helps me to relax.”
Radwanska beat Williams in their only previous meeting, in 2006, a match in which the American suffered a wrist injury.
”She did what it took [that day], and since that time, she has gone on to the top 10, so obviously she’s a good player,” Williams said.
Williams also felt she has a special affiliation with Poland having been treated very well every time she has played there.
”I thought maybe my last my name was Williams-owski or something,” she joked.
”Really my biggest fans were in Poland. I couldn’t believe it. I just never would have dreamed that people in Poland … were watching what I do and actually cared about it so much.
”So it was really flattering, and I enjoyed all my times there. I played there quite often because of that.” – Reuters