Serena in Stanford last four, Venus exits

Sat Aug 2, 2014 2:19am EDT
 
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(Reuters) - Top seed Serena Williams came from a set down to book her place in the Stanford Classic semi-finals with a hard-earned 2-6 6-3 7-5 win against fifth-seeded Serb Ana Ivanovic on Friday.

Serena, whose sister Venus was beaten in three sets by Germany's Andrea Petkovic earlier in the day, initially struggled on a fast playing surface but gradually found her range to seal victory in just under two hours.

"It wasn't very easy," Serena, who will face Petkovic in the last four on Saturday, told ESPN. "Ana plays very well. This surface was a little fast so she was hitting a lot of shots.

"But I just fought it and stayed in there. I just tried to do everything that I worked on."

Serena was broken in the first game of the match, then double-faulted to lose serve again in the fifth and trail 1-4 before losing the opening set in just under 30 minutes.

However, the American used her crunching ground strokes to great effect in the next two sets and, helped by 10 aces, she wrapped up the win when her opponent sent a forehand service return wide.

Asked how she had adjusted to the slick conditions on the hardcourt surface, Serena replied: "You just start running. You have to see faster, you have to move faster, you have to turn faster, everything you have to do just a little step faster.

"But I am feeling really good. I had some long rallies and I wasn't out of breath at all so I was like. 'Yeah'," added Serena, who suffered a surprise third round loss at Wimbledon in her previous tournament.

Earlier, the eighth-seeded Petkovic battled past Venus Williams 6-1 3-6 7-5 in a pulsating match lasting nearly two hours.   Continued...

 
Serena Williams of the U.S. reacts during her women's singles tennis match against Alize Cornet of France at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, in London June 28, 2014.                     REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth