(updates with quotes)
By Paul Majendie
LONDON, June 30 Four-times champion Venus
Williams swept into the quarter-finals at Wimbledon on Monday
with an impressive display of power tennis against Russian
teenager Alisa Kleybanova.
Williams, firmly on course to meet her sister Serena in the
final, won 6-3 6-4 and waxed lyrical afterwards about her love
affair with Wimbledon.
"This is the most important tournament in tennis as far as
history and, I guess, prestige, and it's just wonderful to win
"I just love it here. It's just that simple," said Venus who
with Serena has dominated 21st century Wimbledon.
The number seven seed, often a slow starter, was razor-sharp
from the beginning against the 18-year-old Muscovite, who was
broken in the eighth game when she double-faulted three times.
The youngest player left in the tournament battled hard
against the vastly more experienced Williams, 28, whose game at
Wimbledon this year has sharpened from match to match.
In the second set, Kleybanova fought a fine rearguard
action. She survived two match points at 5-2, broke Williams's
serve, held her own to love, then finally succumbed to the
Asked why she thought so many of the top seeds had been
knocked out at Wimbledon this year, she said "Every player is
ready to play, especially at these slams. Everyone comes out
with double vengeance so you just have to be ready."
Venus is on course to play her sister, twice champion Serena
in the final.
She felt that clashing on the biggest stage in tennis
brought out the best in both of them. "We can both pull a shot
out of anywhere. So we're both being on our toes for that."
Revenge could also be sweet for Venus. Serena has beaten her
in the two Wimbledon finals they have contested in 2002 and
At her news conference, Venus was pressed constantly about
how she felt, as champion, about having to play on the outside
Court Two, which is known as the "Graveyard of Champions"
because it has been the scene of so many shocks.
She refused to be drawn into criticising the court
scheduling but did say of Court Two "I'm actually really tall so
I feel a little cramped. There's a lot of back, there's less
But when reporters kept returning to the scheduling, she
told them "Let's keep it on the real. I'm here for the tennis."
(Reporting by Paul Majendie, Editing by Clare Lovell)