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Merciless Serena books last-eight Kuznetsova clash
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08:36, June 02, 2009

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PARIS: American second seed Serena Williams set up a French Open quarterfinal meeting with Russia's seventh seed Svetlana Kuznetsova after blazing through her fourth-round match yesterday.

Williams, the 2002 champion, took just 53 minutes to see off Canadian 24th seed Aleksandra Wozniak 6-1, 6-2, while Kuznetsova triumphed 6-4, 1-6, 6-1 against Polish number 12 seed Agnieszka Radwanska.

"It was my most focused match so far and I was able to stay focused throughout," said Williams, who had looked short of sharpness in her opening three matches, twice being taken to three sets.

"It's all mental. I woke up today feeling great and I knew I was going to have a great day.

"This is when everything counts. I have to pick up my level and play again, especially against Svetlana, who moves really well and doesn't do anything bad."

Wozniak was playing in the fourth round at a Grand Slam for the first time and Williams encountered little resistance in the first set, breaking twice before wrapping up the set with a full-bodied smash.

Williams, bidding for her 11th Grand Slam singles title and third in a row, was able to move her opponent around the court at will and took full advantage of the Canadian's feathery serve to cruise into the French Open quarterfinals for the sixth time.

"After I got off to such a quick start, I realized that maybe she hadn't played on Centre Court yet," she said.

"Maybe she hadn't had the experience in big matches in grand slams where there is a chance for either player who won to get into the quarter-finals."

Wozniak agreed with her assessment.

"It's my first time on Philippe Chatrier. Emotions get involved and you just get tight and you can't play really your game, so it's tough," she said. "I was like a rock. I couldn't let go on my shots and play my game."

Kuznetsova, the 2006 French Open runner-up, overcame a mid-match stumble to beat 20-year-old Radwanska 6-4, 1-6, 6-1 on Court Suzanne Lenglen.

"I was nervous today, I don't know why," said Kuznetsova.

"I think she was too. The first set was not great for both of us but I served well. The second set I played really bad and did a lot of mistakes. I wasn't moving much.

"After I went to change my clothes (at the end of the second set) and then I started thinking a bit, I improved my game.

"Something positive about this match is that it happened today and I didn't lose. I'm not happy to play three sets but I've been through a bit of a fight. The other matches were too easy so I needed a test."

The 23-year-old Russian, French Open runner-up in 2006, looked in command of the tie as she won the first set before Radwanska upped her game in the second, attacking Kuznetsova's serve and forcing the Russian into errors.

The Pole broke twice to romp ahead, levelling the match with an ace at 5-1 up and taking the tie into a decider.

Kuznetsova had lost her previous two matches against Radwanska, who has never progressed beyond the fourth round at Roland Garros, but she rediscovered her rhythm in the third set.

After breaking at the first opportunity, an inch-perfect backhand into the bottom-right corner of the court gave Kuznetsova a second break and a 4-0 lead and she served out the match to set up a meeting with Williams.

Source:China Daily/Agencies

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