Williams eases past Kanepi

Williams eases past Kanepi

Serena Williams is through to her first grand slam quarter-final of the year in New York (AP)

Serena Williams is through to her first grand slam quarter-final of the year in New York

First published in National Sport © by

Serena Williams reached her first grand slam quarter-final of the year with victory over Kaia Kanepi at the US Open.

So far there have been none of the wobbles that led to unexpected defeats for the world number one in Melbourne, Paris and at Wimbledon.

She has not lost more than three games in any set and was a relatively comfortable 6-3 6-3 winner over her Estonian opponent on Monday.

Williams has looked totally focused on the job in hand this tournament and did not lose a point in her first three service games of the match.

Kanepi, another big hitter, kept pace with her initially but once Williams made the breakthrough for 5-3, the first set was gone.

Having broken again in the opening game of the second, there was an embarrassing moment for the two-time defending champion when she completely fluffed a smash and dropped her serve to love.

But it was soon forgotten, as was the eighth game when she served for the match and was broken, with Williams clinching victory on Kanepi's serve

Williams said: "She plays really well, she hits the ball incredibly hard. The turning point was I kept fighting and I relaxed, I said, 'Serena, whatever happens, you're still in doubles'."

The world number one then raised her hands in the air, and said triumphantly: " I finally made a quarter-final this year! I think I felt (the pressure) in my serving game, 'Can I please make it to the quarters once this year'. I'm glad to do it in New York."

In the last eight, Williams will face 11th seed Flavia Pennetta, who is having another good run at Flushing Meadows.

The Italian has only made one quarter-final at all the other grand slams combined but is through to her fifth in New York after a 7-5 6-2 victory over Casey Dellacqua.

"Everyone asks the same question," said Pennetta when asked to explain her success. " I don't know. I just like to play here and maybe that's why I play good here."

Australian Dellacqua has had a remarkable rise over the last 12 months, from outside 180 in the rankings to 32, but 35 unforced errors cost her dearly against the consistency of Pennetta.

Pennetta has lost all five previous matches against her fellow 32-year-old Williams but will head into the clash with a positive attitude.

She said: "You just have to play your tennis and do your best. Of course, she's better than me, but if I believe I can beat her, maybe if she doesn't have a good day I can do that.

"If I get on the court and just play and try not to lose 6-0 6-0, I'm going to lose 6-0 6-0."

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