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Venus Williams reaches semis in Brazil

Feb. 28, 2013 at 8:55 PM

FLORIANOPOLIS, Brazil, Feb. 28 (UPI) -- No. 1 seed Venus Williams coasted into the semifinals of the Brazil Tennis Cup Thursday, moving within two wins of recording her 45th WTA title.

Williams defeated fifth-seeded Magdalena Rybarikova 6-4, 6-0 to continue a comeback from illness and injury that had threatened her career.

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She began 2012 ranked 134th in the world, but she has climbed back to No. 20 thanks in part to a victory late last season in Luxembourg.

Olga Puchkova posted a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Jana Cepelova to set up a semifinal matchup with Williams. It will be their first career meeting.

The other semifinal will send Kristina Mladenovic, the No. 7 seed, against Monica Niculescu.

Mladenovic defeated Melinda Czink 6-4, 6-3 and Niculescu was a 6-3, 6-2 winner over Timea Babos.

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