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Williams sisters close to final showdown

Dubai: The Williams sisters are on course for a final meeting after both siblings registered emphatic quarter-final wins in the Dubai Duty Free Women’s Open on Thursday.

Top seed and world number one Serena brushed aside Jelena Jankovic 6-2, 6-2 after older sister Venus had earlier worked her way past qualifier Flavia Pennetta 6-3, 7-5.

They now just have Friday’s semi-finals to negotiate if they are to set up a family affair in Saturday’s final. Venus will be up against Caroline Wozniacki, while Serena will play the winner of the last quarter-final between Alize Cornet and Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro, which was being played later on Thursday.

The two siblings have played each other 24 times during their career, with Serena holding the edge with 14 wins. The two last met at the Charleston Open last year, with Serena winning the semi-final match 6-1, 6-2, while their last title showdown was in Doha in 2009, when the younger sister again came out on top.

Serena, who is yet to win in Dubai after four visits, was dominant against Jankovic and she was relieved with the smooth victory. “It definitely felt a lot more comfortable. There are some shots that I missed that I would never have missed a month ago, so I’m still getting a little rust off. But it feels good. I’m still trying to make sure I keep going in the right direction,” she said.

An early break saw the American ahead 3-1 in the first set and, after a brief fightback, Serena broke a second time to coast ahead 6-2 in 39 minutes.

The players were evenly matched early in the second set, until Serena broke in the sixth and then won the next two games to wrap up set and match in an hour and 16 minutes.

Serena has been at the top of the women’s rankings for a total of 176 weeks in her career and is poised to pass Monica Seles (178) to take fifth place in the all-time list.

And the 32-year-old has enjoyed her time here so far. “I like Dubai. It’s a great place to come. What I like most about it is just the city,” she said. “I go to a restaurant and I see a guy and he’s like, I’m from New York. And another guy, they are all staff, and he’s from London. Another guy is from Nigeria. Another guy is from Asia. Iit’s an incredible mix of people from absolutely everywhere in the world.

“It is a beautiful, beautiful thing. Everyone is treated the same, so it’s just great. I love it.”

Results & order of play

Thursday’s results

Women’s singles quarter-finals

Venus Williams (US) bt Flavia Pennetta (ITA) 6-3, 7-5

Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) bt Sorana Cirstea (ROM) 6-1, 6-2

Serena Williams (US) bt Jelena Jankovic (SRB) 6-2, 6-2

Playing later:

Carla Suarez Navarro (SPA) vs Alize Cornet (FRA)

Friday’s order of play

Centre Court, semi-finals

2pm — Andrea Hlavackova & Lucie Safarova vs Alla Kudryavtseva & Anastasia Rodionova

5pm — Caroline Wozniacki vs Venus Williams

7pm — Serena Williams vs Carla Suarez Navarro or Alize Cornet

Followed by — Raquel Kops-Jones & Abigail Spears vs Flavia Pennetta & Samantha Stosur