Williams made to work for victory

Venus Williams was once again forced to go the distance before sealing a 6-2 5-7 6-1 victory over lucky loser Agnes Szavay of Hungary in the quarter-finals of the Abierto Mexicano TELCEL tournament.

Venus Williams was once again forced to go the distance before sealing a 6-2 5-7 6-1 victory over lucky loser Agnes Szavay of Hungary in the quarter-finals of the Abierto Mexicano TELCEL tournament.

The world number five had uncharacteristically spent more than five hours on the court during her first two matches in the competition, needing three sets to overcome a pair of unseeded opponents.

Williams outlasted Nuria Llagostera Vives in a two hours and 25 minute encounter on Tuesday and needed two hours and 43 minutes to get past 160th-ranked Greta Arn on Wednesday.

It was more of the same against the world number 28 Szavay, who battled for just over two hours before eventually losing.

The 28-year-old came into this event after winning her 40th career title last weekend in Dubai and extended her winning streak to eight matches after ousting Szavay in their first-ever encounter.

Williams is the only seeded player left in her half of the draw following the second-round upsets of number three seed Carla Suarez-Navarro of Spain and number five seed Gisela Dulko of Argentina.

World number 71 Barbora Zahlavova Strycova from the Czech Republic will be Williams‘ next opponent after rallying to complete a 4-6 7-5 6-1 victory over 103rd-ranked Estonian Maret Ani in the section’s other quarter-final.

Second seed and defending champion Flavia Pennetta continued her march toward another title after earning a 2-6 6-3 6-0 triumph over unseeded Czech player Petra Cetkovska in a last eight clash in the bottom of the draw.

The 27-year-old Italian has reached the championship match in each of the past five years, claiming a title in 2005.

The only other seed remaining in the field is fourth-seeded Iveta Benesova, who will meet Pennetta in the semi-finals after cruising to a 6-1 6-3 victory against Frenchwoman Mathilde Johansson.

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