Svetlana Kuznetsova rallied to beat Venus Williams 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 on Friday to reach the semi-finals at the clay-court J&S Cup.
"It was so much fun to play, it was so much passion," Kuznetsova said.
Also, top-ranked Justine Henin of Belgium beat Mara Santangelo of Italy 6-2, 6-1; fourth-seeded Jelena Jankovic of Serbia advanced after sixth-seeded Anna Chakvetadze of Russia retired with a right shoulder strain while trailing 7-6 (1), 3-1; and Alona Bondarenko of Ukraine also won after Julia Vakulenko withdrew with a sprained right wrist while trailing 6-2, 3-1.
Kuznetsova will next play Bondarenko.
Williams, looking to avenge a quarter-final loss to Kuznetsova at last year's edition of the tournament, stole two quick breaks from her Russian opponent to capture the first set.
But Kuznetsova found a rhythm in the second set, moving the US player on the baseline and nailing passing shots and lobs when Williams tried to attack the net.
Kuznetsova watched a forehand from Williams sail long to break and take a 2-1 lead on her way to winning the set.
"I was thinking I had to do better in the second and still keep fighting and keep playing and I had my chances and made the break," Kuznetsova said.
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