Venus Williams looks spry while knocking off Johanna Konta in Rome

By The Sports Xchange   |   May 18, 2017 at 6:29 PM
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Venus Williams, a 36-year-old American, and Anett Kontaveit, a 21-year-old qualifier from Estonia, provided the biggest news while advancing to the quarterfinals at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome on Thursday.

The ninth-seeded Venus Williams displayed the form of her younger years when she eliminated fifth-seeded Johanna Konta of Great Britain, 6-1, 3-6, 6-1.

"I love this tournament, and I love Rome," Williams said after the match. "It's one of my favorite places on earth, so that's one of the reasons why I have always come here."

Konta had beaten Williams the last three times they played, but Williams jumped in front this time as Konta committed 13 unforced errors in the first set.

Konta got the service break she needed in the eighth game of the second set to send the match to a deciding set.

"In the first set I was happy to have been able to close it out with a double break," Williams said. "In the second set, it was like sometimes I felt like there were moments where I had a chance and she would have a strong hold and it was just one break."

Williams dominated the third set, finishing the match with 32 winners.

Up next for Williams is third-seeded Garbine Muguruza of Spain, who defeated Germany's Julia Goerges, 7-5, 6-4.

"It's so even that I felt today like if I didn't play well and concentrated, I could have easily lost this match," Muguruza said. "I was very happy also because I didn't play my best in Madrid, and in Stuttgart I kind of lost in the third set. So I'm happy to be able to win matches here in Rome."

Kontaveit continued her impressive run in this tournament. One day after beating No. 1-ranked German Angelique Kerber in straight sets, Kontaveit easily defeated 16th-seeded Mirjana Lucic-Baroni of Croatia, 6-1, 6-1.

"It feels great," said Kontaveit, who is ranked 68th in the world. "My first time in the quarterfinals in such a big event. It's really exciting.

"I thought I played really great. I managed to do all the right things and stay with her. That was the plan. It's all really new to me, I'm still gaining a lot of experience and getting used to all of these things. So that's the main focus."

Up next for Kontaveit is sixth-seeded Simona Halep of Romania, who advanced with a 6-1, 4-6, 6-0 victory over 12th-seeded Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia.

"I feel great," Halep said. "I feel my game, I feel strong on court, my legs are strong, mentally strong, so I feel good on court."

Halep finished with 17 winners to just nine unforced errors. Pavlyuchenkova collected 26 winners but also had 37 unforced errors.

Daria Gavrilova of Australia recorded an upset by beating eighth-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia 2-6, 7-5, 6-4.

Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands, the 15th seed, advanced with a 7-6 (3), 6-1 victory over Ekaterina Makarova of Russia; second-seeded Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic beat Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland, 6-1, 7-5, and eighth-seeded Elina Svitolina of Ukraine posted a 3-6, 6-0, 6-0 win over Germany's Mona Barthel.

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