Venus Williams cruised into the Family Circle Cup quarter-finals on Thursday, routing Taiwan's Chan Yung-jan (
Williams, unseeded and in her fourth tournament since recovering from a wrist injury earlier in the year, needed just over an hour to win the match on a bright, breezy day on the green clay at Daniel Island.
In yesterday's quarter-finals, Williams, ranked No. 29, was due to face Anabel Medina Garrigues of Spain, a 6-4, 7-5 winner over eighth-seeded Li Na of China.
Williams won in Memphis in her return, advanced to the third round in Miami and made the quarter-finals last week at Amelia Island.
"I've been off so long and I'm eager to play and I'm eager to get my ranking up and I want to play matches," she said. "I'm excited about the snowball effect."
Second-seeded Jelena Jankovic of Serbia, ranked No. 9 and the highest remaining seed in the US$1.3 million event, had an even easier time than Williams.
Jankovic defeated Mara Santangelo of Italy 6-3, 6-0 in 47 minutes, losing only six points in the second set. It's Jankovic's fourth appearance in Charleston, but until this week she never survived the second round. Last year, Jankovic lost to a qualifier.
Jankovic will meet Katrina Srebotnik of Slovenia, a 7-5, 7-6 (5), winner over Zheng Jie of China, in the quarter-finals.
Fourth-seeded Dinara Safina of Russia also won in straight sets, defeating Lourdes Dominguez Lino of Spain, 6-2, 6-2. Safina will face Tatiana Golovin of France, a 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 winner over Peng Shaui of China.
Michaella Krajicek of the Netherlands, who earlier this week defeated the tournament's top-seed, Nicole Vaidisova, also advanced with a 6-7 (4), 6-2, 6-1 win over Sybille Bammer of Austria.
She will meet ninth-seeded Vera Zvonareva of Russia, who defeated seventh-seeded Ana Ivanovic of Serbia, 6-3, 6-3 in the Thursday night match.
James Blake booked his quarter-final berth in the US$416,000 US claycourt championships in Houston on Thursday with a straight sets win over qualifier Alex Kuznetsov.
Blake, who is shaking off a run of disappointing results, defeated Kuznetsov 7-6, (7/4), 6-1 to line up a clash with eighth-seeded Argentinine Juan Monaco.
Monaco defeated American Amer Delic 6-2, 6-3.
Blake had been struggling before he posted a pair of victories against Spain last weekend in the Davis Cup -- the second in a dead rubber.
However, he appears to be returning to the early season form that saw him reach two finals -- including a successful title defense in Sydney.
Monaco also has a title to his credit this year, having picked up his first career ATP trophy in Buenos Aires.
In this tournament, Blake is seeking to make it past the quarter-finals for the first time in six appearances.
Third-seeded German Tommy Haas also advanced to the quarter-finals, with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over France's Nicolas Devilder.
Haas next faces Croatian Ivo Karlovic, who advanced on a walkover when Argentina's Diego Hartfield withdrew with a neck injury.
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