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Venus, Serena cruise, pained Nadal advances
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08:51, September 04, 2007

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NEW YORK: Venus and Serena Williams served their way into the US Open quarterfinals with impressive straight-sets victories on Sunday, setting up a possible clash between the American sisters in the final four.

Venus never lost her serve during a 6-4, 6-2 drubbing of Ana Ivanovic, while Serena stopped France's Marion Bartoli 6-3, 6-4 by blasting 10 aces and landing 73 percent of her first serves.

A Venus-Serena match-up would be their fourth at Flushing Meadows and the first since meeting in the 2005 fourth round.

"That would be awesome because it would mean that there is a Williams in the final and it would mean that Americans have a chance to win," said Venus, who won the 2005 encounter.

Standing in the way of Serena's possible clash with Venus is top seed and world No 1 Justine Henin, who demolished 15th seed Dinara Safina 6-0, 6-2 in just 59 minutes.

"We both have a lot of character and a lot of personality," Henin said of her quarterfinal opponent.

"We both have been very strong mentally on the court the last few years.

"There's a lot of respect professionally between the two of us, that's for sure.

On the men's side, second seed Rafael Nadal said he continued to suffer from nagging injuries to both knees but his ailments were hardly apparent during a 7-6, 6-2, 6-1 victory against Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

More relaxed

Nadal made just 14 unforced errors and never lost his serve against the 74th-ranked Tsonga.

"It was important for me to win in straight sets," the second-seeded Spaniard said. "For my knees it's better because I can be a little bit more relaxed for the next match."

In the fourth round, Nadal will face compatriot David Ferrer, who needed just less than four hours to defeat Argentine David Nalbandian 6-3, 3-6, 4-6, 7-6, 7-5.

Asked how he would tackle the challenge of Nadal, Ferrer replied: "He's an unbelievable player.

"He plays at a great level, he runs all the time and it's difficult to win against him. But I will just have to do my best things and enjoy it."

Third seeded Novak Djokovic of Serbia recovered from his four-hour, 44-minute victory against Radek Stepanek on Friday to ease past Argentine Juan Martin Del Potro 6-1, 6-3 6-4.

"I was serving really well and he broke me only one time," said Djokovic, who hit 74 percent of his first serves. "I'm really happy the way I played."

Other third-round winners included Stanislas Wawrinka, Juan Ignacio Chela, Carlos Moya and Juan Monaco.

Eighth seed Tommy Robredo of Spain was eliminated, falling 6-1, 6-3, 6-2 to 88th-ranked, 19-year-old Ernests Gulbis of Latvia.

Venus Williams has not lost a set during her four matches and in the quarterfinals will face 2006 semifinalist Jelena Jankovic, a 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 winner against 19th seed Sybille Bammer of Austria.

Third seed Jankovic was broken in the first game of the third set but swept the next six to set up a clash with Williams, who has lost her last three meetings with the Serb.

Ivanovic, the French Open finalist, was unable to keep up with the punishing serve or angled groundstrokes by Venus.

She said the 12th seeded American might be ready to claim her first Open crown since winning the second of two straight titles in 2001.

"She's the type of player that plays better each match, and as the tournament progresses she is raising her level," Ivanovic said.

"She is definitely playing some good tennis and has a good chance (to win)."

Source: China Daily/Agencies

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