Williams sisters ease through

Venus Williams easily moved into the fourth round at the US Open yesterday with a 6-2 6-1 victory over Alona Bondarenko of Ukraine.

Venus Williams easily moved into the fourth round at the US Open yesterday with a 6-2 6-1 victory over Alona Bondarenko of Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Serena Williams also made quick work of her opponent, routing Japan’s Ai Sugiyama 6-2 6-1.

A two-time winner of the year’s final Grand Slam, Venus has advanced into the fourth round here in each of her 10 career appearances.

A back-to-back winner starting in 2000 and a finalist in 1997 and 2002, Venus feels all that experience makes her quite a dangerous opponent.

“Oh, I think I’m definitely at my best now,” Venus said. “I think I understand the game more. Trying different kind of shots, too, lately. Trying to add some variety.”

The seventh seed, Venus beat Bondarenko for the second consecutive year, also topping the 24-year-old in the third round here last season. She also teamed with Serena to top Alona and her sister Kateryna in the semi-finals in doubles in Beijing earlier this month en route to an Olympic gold medal.

Venus used a booming serve to secure her third straight lopsided win, finishing with nine aces. Overall, she needed just over three hours to reach the second week.

“Just hitting it right, just finding my timing,” Venus said. “I think I had - I had a brief intermission this summer with some injury, but I had a chance to really play a lot matches, play a lot of big matches, play a lot of the matches in succession instead of on and off the tour, as I have been. I think that’s helped me a lot.” The fourth seed, Serena won 71 percent of the points on her serve and captured four breaks en route to wrapping up the match in 66 minutes.

Also a two-time winner of this major, Serena dispatched the other Bondarenko earlier this week with a 6-1 6-4 first-round victory.

Venus and Serena are on course for a potential clash between each other in the quarterfinals. The sisters have squared off in three previous matchups at the US Open, with the older sister winning two of them.

Before that can happen, Serena will face Frenchwoman Severine Bremond, who recorded a 7-5, 3-6,6-4 triumph over Tathiana Garbin of Italy.

Also advancing early was ninth seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland, who routed No. 18 Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia, 6-0, 6-3.

Radwanska next will face Venus, a player that she managed just three games against in their only previous meeting in 2006.

“For sure, she’s a big champion, and she was playing here for (many) more times than me,” Radwanska said. “I will just try my best and we’ll see.” Fresh off her upset of top seed Ana Ivanovic in the second round, Frenchwoman Julie Coin could not continue that success against compatriot Amelie Mauresmo, dropping a 6-4, 6-4 decision.

Ranked 188th in the world, Coin struggled with 31 unforced errors against Mauresmo, who continued to rebound from a slump that dropped her to 29th in the world.

A two-time semi-finalist here, Mauresmo next will face number 16 Flavia Pennetta of Italy, who defeated 19th-seeded Nadia Petrova of Russia, 4-6 6-4 6-3.

Dinara Safina continued in good pace after a slow start on Saturday, ousting Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland 3-6 7-5 6-2. The sixth-seeded Russian continued to build off the momentum of her silver-medal performance at the Beijing Olympics when she defeated Italy’s Roberta Vinci, 6-4 6-3 on Thursday. Safina, who has yet to make it past the quarterfinals at the US Open, improved to 35-4 since May.

In another seeded match Saturday, 17th-seeded Alize Cornet of France was upset by German Anna-Lena Groenefeld, who posted a 6-4 7-5 triumph.

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