Five-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams showed she still belongs among the game's best as she joined six of the top eight seeds in winning at the Bausch and Lomb quarter-finals in Amelia Island, Florida, on Thursday.
Williams advanced to the quarter-finals of the US$600,000 claycourt tournament with a 6-2, 7-5 victory over Meilen Tu in a third-round match between unseeded US players.
Williams continued her quest to re-establish herself as a dominant player on the women's tour in the wake of a left wrist injury that sidelined her for much of last season.
She has looked sharp despite playing in just three tournaments this season, going 10-1 overall and capturing her 34th career title in Memphis last month.
Williams had bounced out fourth-seeded Swiss Patty Schnyder en route to the third round. Against Tu, Williams converted 66 percent of her first serves in the match.
She improved to 5-0 all-time against Tu, who committed seven double-faults and suffered six service breaks.
Williams will face eighth-seeded Tatiana Golovin of France next, who rolled to a 6-2, 6-1 triumph over Samantha Stosur of Australia.
The world's 20th-ranked player, Golovin beat Williams in the only previous meeting between the two players, posting a straight-sets victory in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2005.
Williams and Golovin were joined in the quarters by top-seeded Russian Nadia Petrova, who breezed past Zheng Jie of China 6-2, 6-3. Petrova fired seven aces and recorded four break points in a match which lasted just 72 minutes.
The world No. 7, Petrova will face fifth-seeded Russian Dinara Safina in the quarters.
Safina made quick work of Slovakian Katarina Srebotnik, posting a 6-3, 6-1 win in just 61 minutes.
Jelena Jankovic, the second seed from Serbia, also cruised into the quarter-finals defeating Ukrainian Alona Bondarenko 6-2, 6-0.
Jankovic set up a showdown with sixth-seeded compatriot Ana Ivanovic, who easily defeated Nathalie Dechy of France 6-1, 6-1.
Daniela Hantuchova, the third seed from Slovakia, bounced back from a third-round loss two weeks ago at Miami, where she fell in straight sets to Vera Zvonareva.
Hantuchova rolled past unseeded compatriot Dominika Cibulkova with a 6-1, 6-4 victory.
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