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Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships: Venus Williams shows glimpses of the past

Dubai: Venus Williams showed glimpses of her illustrious past when she sent fellow former number one Ana Ivanovic packing from the Dubai Duty Free Women’s Open here on Wednesday with a surprisingly one-sided 6-2, 6-1 victory.

A two-time winner here in 2009 and 2010, Williams was always in control on breezy early evening Centre Court conditions as she finished off the Serb in less than one hour.

The American veteran sent down five aces and fired 19 winners to avenge her loss to the Serb in the final of the Auckland Open last month.

Going into this second-round encounter, Williams was way ahead in all-time career wins against Ivanovic with an 8-2 record.

And if the Serb was plotting a possible repeat of the Auckland final, she was mistaken as her American opponent allowed her very little chance to stamp her presence on the encounter.

Venus has won an amazing 44 singles and 21 doubles titles, with earnings in excess of $29 million on the WTA Tour.

However, she contracted a rare illness called Sjogren’s Syndrome, which affects the immune system, in 2011, after which she took a lengthy break before making a return in 2012.

“It’s always tough between us. She plays a lot consistent, but I had to stay consistent in all areas of my game,” Williams said.

The American was pleased with the way things have gone her way since her first-round loss to Ekaterina Makarova at the Australian Open. “The good part of my game is that I am playing consistently. Besides that, I am working on several aspects of my game while I work on making my way back,” she added.

After taking the opening set 6-2 in 31 minutes, Venus upped her game in the second while Ivanovic produced a string of unforced errors.

The Serb did, however, show flashes of brilliance with some forehand returns, but Williams had too much power for her.

The American broke serve early and held for 2-0 and then a double fault in the fifth saw the American cruising at 4-1. There was no turning back for Ivanonic as she was broken one last time to surrender the set and match in just 56 minutes.

Her opponent in Thursday’s quarter-finals will be Flavia Pennetta, who dumped second seed and 2012 Dubai champion Agnieszka Radwanska 4-6, 1-6 earlier in the day.

Leading 4-1 in the first set with an early break, Radwanska caved in to a very pleasing display of serve and volley from the Italian qualifier.

Caroline Wozniacki and Jelena Jankovic were the other former world number one players who booked their place in the last eight on Wednesday. Seeded No.8, 2011 Dubai champion Wozniacki defeated German qualifier Annika Beck 6-4, 6-4, while fifth-seeded Jankovic got the better of Lucie Safarova 7-5, 6-4.

Jankovic will now meet top seed and world number one Serena Williams in Thursday’s quarter-finals, while Wozniacki will take on the winner of the match between Sorana Cirstea and fourth seed Sara Errani that was being played later.

WEDNESDAY’S RESULTS

Round two

Flavia Pennetta bt Agnieszka Radwanska 6-4, 6-1

Venus Williams bt Ana Ivanovic 6-2, 6-1

Caroline Wozniacki bt Annika Beck 6-4, 6-4

Jelena Jankovic bt Lucie Safarova 7-5, 6-4