Sat, Mar 02, 2013 - Page 18 News List

WTA: Venus Williams cruises past Rybarikova


Venus Williams defeated fifth seed Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia 6-4, 6-0 on Thursday to reach the semi-finals of the Brazil Cup.

The top seed broke Rybarikova’s serve at 5-4 to win the first set and quickly took control of the second to clinch the victory in 1 hour, 25 minutes on the hard courts in southern Brazil.

Williams faced nine break points to world No. 52 Rybarikova, but was broken only twice.

World No. 20 Williams is playing in her first tournament since losing to Maria Sharapova in the third round of the Australian Open in January.

Williams next faces Olga Puchkova of Russia, who cruised past Jana Cepelova of Slovakia 6-1, 6-1, despite eight double faults.

World No. 109 Puchkova, who upset third seed Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium in the first round, is trying to reach her first final since 2006.

Earlier, seventh seed Kristina Mladenovic of France defeated Melinda Czink of Hungary 6-4, 6-3 to set up the other semi-final against Monica Niculescu of Romania.

World No. 58 Mladenovic, yet to lose a set, broke Czink’s serve four times and saved eight break points to win the match.

Czink eliminated second seed Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan in the first round and crowd-favorite Bia Haddad Maia in the second.

Niculescu reached the semis by beating Timea Babos of Hungary 6-3, 6-2.

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