Williams sisters into Rome quarterfinals

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

ROME — The Williams sisters have reached the quarterfinals of the Italian Open.

Top-ranked Serena Williams defeated Andrea Petkovic of Germany 6-2, 3-6, 6-0 on Wednesday as she plays her first tournament in three months. Venus Williams also advanced with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Shahar Peer of Israel 6-3, 6-4.

The sisters are back from knee injuries, and could meet in the semifinals after being placed in the same half of the draw.

Serena Williams had been off the tour since she won the singles and doubles at the Australian Open, and was a wild-card entry in Rome. Against the 49th-ranked Petkovic, her game was erratic at times. She closed the match with almost as many winners as unforced errors, 25 to 21.

Williams got off to a good start, winning the first set with a five-game streak. But she quickly fell 4-1 behind in the second, came back to 4-3 but conceded another, decisive break to Petkovic. In the third set, she picked up her game and played aggressively.

The fourth-seeded Venus Williams, sidelined with a knee problem since losing the Key Biscayne final, broke once in the first set and dropped just four points on her serve. Both players then lost serve early in the second, and Venus had to save two break points at 4-4 before getting the decisive break in the next game with a forehand winner.

She saved another break point when serving for the win before converting her second match point.

Also, Nadia Petrova of Russia won 6-0, 3-6, 6-2 against Alexandra Dulgheru of Romania, who knocked out defending champion Dinara Safina on Tuesday.

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