UPDATE 4-Tennis-Serena dusts off rust, Venus thrashed
* Serena powers into Italian Open semis
* Venus wins just one game in Jankovic drubbing
* Former number one Ivanovic reaches last four
(updates after Venus defeat)
By Paul Virgo
ROME, May 6 (Reuters) - Serena Williams showed little ill-effect from her long layoff with a knee injury as she powered past Russian Maria Kirilenko 6-1 6-4 to reach the Italian Open semi-finals on Thursday.
But the fans were denied an all-Williams semi-final showdown as her sister Venus, also returning from injury, was whipped 6-0 6-1 in under an hour by Jelena Jankovic.
American world number one Serena, playing her first tournament since winning January's Australian Open, was in control from the off.
She rattled the Russian by standing short on her serve and pounced on any weak balls to drill home winning returns.
Her own serve was fearsome, zipping down at over 190kph on several occasions, and she notched seven aces.
Serena, the 2002 Italian Open champion, also showed she was in good physical shape, racing to the net to recover drop shots and tip them back for winners, as with the point that clinched the first set.
The only blot was that she allowed herself to be broken in the sixth game of the second set.
Serena conceded she had been rusty in her earlier games at this week's tournament, an important warmer for this month's French Open, but had promised to be "sexy" in the quarters and said she was satisfied that she had kept her word.
"Yeah, I think so," she told a news conference when asked if she considered the performance sexy enough. "It was fast and hot and sweaty."
In contrast, Venus's game was a mess from the start.
Seventh seed Jankovic took advantage of her opponent committing 11 unforced errors to one in the first set to take it to love, wrapping things up by charging to the net to put away a backhand winner.
Fourth seed Venus managed to hold to win her only game of the night at the start of second set.
But she was getting less than half her first serves in and Jankovic attacked her second serve well to make it a one-sided affair that ended with Venus driving a forehand into the net.
Former French Open champion Ana Ivanovic gave another indication that she might be regaining the form that lifted her to the top of the world rankings two years ago, brushing past Russian 14th seed Nadia Petrova 6-2 7-5.
The Serb, who has fallen to 58th in the rankings, had claimed her first wins over top 10 opponents in 18 months this week by beating Elena Dementieva and Victoria Azarenka on the way to the last four.
"This tournament and the victories I have had this week mean a lot to me because I have put in so much work, not only in the last months but also the last year, and it was just not happening," said the Serb.
"I just needed to get some more momentum and start playing matches because that is what I have been lacking for so long. Now I am just so happy to be back on track."
She will now be up against unseeded Spaniard Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez, a 7-6 6-4 victor over Czech Lucie Safarova.
(Editing by Miles Evans and Pritha Sarkar; To query or comment on this story email firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Tweet this
- Share this
- Digg this