Venus Williams storms into the quarters but Serena runs out of gas against Zvonareva.


Venus Williams eased into the quarterfinals at Eastbourne with a convincing 6-3, 6-2 win over Ana Ivanovic on Wednesday. The unseeded American, playing her second match following a five-month layoff, served well against the former No. 1 and didn’t face a single break point in the first set while breaking Ivanovic twice. Ivanovic had her only break point at 1-0 in the second set, but Williams hit 122 mph first serve to save it before breaking twice more.

The 30-year-old Williams was in much better form Wednesday than in her first match in Eastbourne, a three-set struggle against eighth-seeded Andrea Petkovic. Besides her serve, Williams looked to have rediscovered the timing on her forehand, using it to earn her the first break of the match at 2-1. Ivanovic, who reached her first semifinal of the year in Birmingham last week, kept the match competitive with some crowd-pleasing winners, including a delicate backhand, cross-court pass that left Williams flat-footed and set her on the way to a break point early in the second set. Williams improved to 7-1 against Ivanovic. She will face Daniela Hantuchova who defeated 2nd seed Li Na 7-6, 6-3.

Serena Williams simply ran out of gas and suffered a second-round defeat at the AEGON International in Eastbourne after a stirring comeback from top seed Vera Zvonareva. Seeking to follow sister Venus into the quarter-finals, Williams hit 59 winners but her serve was broken – via an unfortunate double fault caused by two net-cords – while serving for the match at 6-3 5-4, and she went on to lose the set in a tie-break. The tables were turned as the American saved three match points with Zvonareva serving for victory at 5-4 in the third set. But it was a temporary reprieve as the Russian broke back and served out to love for a 3-6 7-6 (7/5) 7-5 victory over the reigning Wimbledon champion, who was playing her first tournament since her SW19 triumph last year. Zvonareva said: “It was definitely a tough match, Serena is a great champion and played some unbelievable tennis after a year not playing. A lot of respect to her. “I was really happy with the way I played today and that I won this match.” Zvonareva next plays Australian seventh seed Sam Stosur, who was untroubled as she beat Bojana Jovanovski of Serbia 6-3 6-2.




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