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Williams sisters continue to roll

first_imgTENNIS: Serena to face Henin in the quarterfinals, and Venus to see Jankovic. By Howard Fendrich THE ASSOCIATED PRESS NEW YORK – When you hear about Serena and Venus Williams overpowering opponents, as happened Sunday at the U.S. Open to two recent Grand Slam finalists, it’s easy to forget that the sisters are, indeed, individuals. And as similar as their on-court styles might seem, all stinging serves and gargantuan groundstrokes, they are not quite carbon copies. That point was driven home by their father and coach, Richard, who sat courtside for the final game of Serena’s 6-3, 6-4 victory over Wimbledon runner-up Marion Bartoli, then watched Venus’ 6-4, 6-2 win against French Open runner-up Ana Ivanovic. “Serena reminds me of a pit bull dog and a young Mike Tyson, all in one,” Richard said Sunday. “Venus reminds me of a gazelle that’s able to move, prance and jump. Venus looks as if she is really enjoying herself out there more than Serena is right now. If they get by everyone and meet each other, it will be an interesting match.” Another all-Williams showdown is indeed nearing at Flushing Meadows, although unlike six previous meetings for major titles – Serena leads 5-1 in those finals, Venus leads 7-6 overall – this one would be a semifinal. “That would be awesome because it would mean that there is a Williams in the final,” Venus said. She also noted: “We have one more step.” For Serena, it’s a familiar one. She will face No. 1 Justine Henin in the quarterfinals at a third consecutive major, having lost to her at the French Open and Wimbledon. “Yeah, we know each other pretty well,” Henin said after beating No. 15 Dinara Safina, 6-0, 6-2, at night. “I know everyone was waiting for that match, and here we are.” The older Williams’ quarterfinal opponent will be No. 5 Jelena Jankovic, who defeated No. 19 Sybille Bammer, 6-4, 4-6, 6-1. Men’s matches Sunday were in the third round, and No. 2 Rafael Nadal advanced without a hitch in his step – his taped-up knees have been bothering him – or his game, beating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, 7-6 (3), 6-2, 6-1. Next up for Nadal is a fellow Spaniard, No. 15 David Ferrer, who was one point from defeat before coming back to eliminate 2002 Wimbledon finalist David Nalbandian, 6-3, 3-6, 4-6, 7-6 (5), 7-5, in a match that included a 24-point game. Nalbandian held a match point while ahead, 5-4, in the fifth set with Ferrer serving, but the Argentine dumped a backhand into the net. “I couldn’t nail it down,” Nalbandian said. “It’s a pity.” Other winners included No. 3 Novak Djokovic, No. 17 Carlos Moya, No. 20 Juan Ignacio Chela, No. 23 Juan Monaco and unseeded Stanislas Wawrinka, who followed up his victory over Marat Safin by defeating Robby Ginepri of the United States, 5-7, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3. Moya also won in five sets, edging Philipp Kohlschreiber, 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 (5), 4-6, 6-4, while Djokovic got past Juan Martin del Potro, 6-1, 6-3, 6-4. “Hopefully I play even better the next round,” Djokovic said. Both Williams sisters are two-time U.S. Open champions and both are getting in a groove as this Grand Slam goes on, just as Serena did en route to her eighth major title at the Australian Open in January, and Venus did en route to her sixth major title at Wimbledon in July. “I’m still not where I want to be, or near,” Serena said. “But I feel like I’m doing better, which is important.” Who needs tuneup tournaments? She pulled out of every event in the 11/2 months since spraining a ligament in her left thumb at Wimbledon, and while that hand is fine now, her father indicated something else is wrong. “Serena has a few problems that we haven’t talked to no one about,” Richard said, but wouldn’t elaborate. “I think she’s done a marvelous job of hiding it. Extremely marvelous.” When Serena is on the court, there’s no protective tape on her left thumb or anywhere else, although there was a Band-Aid wrapped around a toe when she walked out of her news conference in flip-flops. Asked whether something was affecting her physically, Serena replied: “I would be the last person to tell you, just in case Justine or Safina reads it, and they’re like, `Uh, I know what to do.”‘ Her two-fisted backhand was off and her footwork was slow at the start against the 10th-seeded Bartoli, who broke in the first game and went up, 2-0, with two aces. Then Serena snapped-to, breaking back to 2-2, and again for a 5-3 lead when she sprinted to reach a drop shot and swatted a cross-court backhand winner. “She just elevates her game when she needs to,” Bartoli said. “She’s not obviously trying to play the hardest on every point.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img
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