Venus Williams beat Victoria Azarenka in a clash of former world number ones to reach the last eight at the Bank Of The West Classic in Stanford, USA. The American, 34, won 6-4 7-6 (7-1) to reach her third quarter-final of the year and stay on course for a possible semi-final against her sister, Serena.
Venus, ranked 25th, will face Germany's Andrea Petkovic in the last eight. "Williams-Williams tomorrow, hopefully," she told the crowd after her win on Thursday. The result means Belarusian Azarenka, who was playing on her 25th birthday, will drop out of the world's top 10 in a season disrupted by three months out with a foot injury.
Serbia's Ana Ivanovic is heading in the opposite direction and her 6-1 6-1 win over Canadian qualifier Carol Zhao guarantees a return to the top 10 next week after an absence of more than five years. The former world number one and French Open champion will take on Serena Williams, who currently tops the rankings, in the quarter-finals on Friday.
Ivanovic beat the American at the Australian Open in January, but Serena won their last meeting in Rome three months ago. "It's a good sign," said the Serb, 27. "It means we're getting further into the tournaments to play each other."
Eighth-seeded Andrea Petkovic ended Venus Williams' run in the Bank of the West Classic, beating the former top-ranked player 6-1, 3-6, 7-5 in the quarter-finals on Friday. Following a shaky start, the 25th-ranked Williams picked up her game in the second set and appeared poised to take over the match. The 18th-ranked Petkovic rallied in the third set, taking leads of 3-1 and 5-3, to beat Williams in their first meeting since Luxembourg in 2012.
Petkovic, making her debut in the tournament, is looking for her third title of the season. She also reached the semi-final at the French Open. Varvara Lepchenko took care of qualifier Sachia Vickery, 6-1, 6-0, to earn her 400th career win, which includes all levels. She will meet third-seeded Angelique Kerber on Saturday night. Kerber topped Garbine Muguruza 6-2, 6-1.
The top-seeded and top-ranked Williams dropped three consecutive games to fall behind 4-3 and then ripped seven straight points to right the ship in front of a sellout crowd at Stanford. "It wasn't very easy," Williams said. "I tried to do the things I worked on. I'm feeling really good. I'm not out of breath, so 'yeah.' " Williams assured herself of a 200th nonconsecutive week at the top of the ladder while Ivanovic will return to the top 10 for first time in more than five years.
Andrea Petkovic ended Venus Williams' run in the tournament, beating the former top-ranked player 6-1, 3-6, 7-5 in the quarterfinals. She gets a shot at Serena Williams on Saturday afternoon. "You don't ever have the feeling you have something under control when you play either of them," Petkovic said. "They can hit so hard, and play consistently well. You always have to be on your toes."
Tennis: Former World No.1 and 5-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova was once again one set down against Garbine Muguruza, but she fought back to win in 3 sets 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 in the second round of the Rogers Cup in Montreal. Maria Sharapova had also faced Muguruza in the Quarterfinals of the 2014 French Open two months back. She had dropped first set 6-1 on that occasion, and had won next two sets 7-5, 6-1 to go through.
The fourth-seeded former world No. 1 fought back to beat rising Spaniard Garbine Muguruza 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 on the hardcourts at Uniprix Stadium. Sharapova, who has now won 11 of her last 12 matches on tour, was a runner-up at this event in Toronto in 2009. Her third-round opponent will be capable Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro.
Meanwhile, sixth-seeded German left-hander Angelique Kerber whipped France's Caroline Garcia 6-4, 6-1 and 11th-seeded former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki pasted Czech Klara Koukalova 6-1, 6-2. Kerber has reached, and lost, in four finals this season, including last week versus Serena Williams in Stanford. Wozniacki was the Montreal champ back in 2010.
Carla Suarez Navarro advanced to the quarter-finals with a 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 upset of fourth-seeded Maria Sharapova in a match interrupted twice by rain at the US$2.44 million women’s Rogers Cup on Thursday. Suarez Navarro, ranked 16th in the world, returned from the second delay to break Sharapova’s service and then staved off a break point in the next game thanks to a lucky net cord. She broke again in the final game.
Sharapova, just getting started on the hardcourt season, had struggled to a three-set win in her opening match Wednesday against Garbine Muguruza. The 25-year-old Suarez Navarro won her first WTA tournament this year at the Portugal Open in May.
Five-time Grand Slam holder Maria Sharapova who defeated current World No.8 Eugenie Bouchard en-route her second Roland Garros triumph at the beginning of June has said that the 20-year-old from Montreal is the real deal in women’s tennis.
Sharapova said: "She's been so incredibly successful at the grand slams this year. It's been a quick transition for her from the juniors to the pros. It's always a difficult one and she's made that successfully. It's great for me, at 27, to be in the middle of my career and see a younger generation coming up and doing so well in grand slams, yet I'm still facing opponents I faced when I was starting out as a teenager.” Maria added: "Bigger challenges in bigger tournaments. She's much more comfortable with those situations than she was a year or two ago."
After letting a first set lead slip away Venus Williams went right back to work, kept on firing her big serve and swinging away on her massive groundstrokes, and eventually pulled off the kind of upset that will make everyone a believer again, taking out sister Serena Williams.
It had been a while since Venus had beaten a player of this caliber - her last win over a reigning World No.1 was against Dinara Safina in the Wimbledon semifinals in 2009, and her last win over Serena was at Dubai earlier that year. But Venus had taken out some very in-form players already this week - Angelique Kerber and Carla Suárez Navarro - and she was ready to put an end to the five year wait.
Venus came out of the blocks fast, breaking in the first game of the match and building a 3-1 lead off of it - but Serena broke back for 3-all, and after the two traded hold after hold it was Serena who swung much more freely in the tie-break, winning the first five points and eventually closing it out, 7-2.
Serena said afterwards she wasn't thrilled with her own play, but impressed with Venus'. "She was really opening the court well," Serena said. "She's such a good mover. She moves really well. I think her serve was way more consistent than mine. I had more aces, but she served better. "Ultimately I think she returned better as well, so, yeah."