Serena powers into Wimbledon quarter-finals

Reuters News
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Posted: Jul 04, 2016 12:28 PM

By John Stonestreet

LONDON (Reuters) - Serena Williams overpowered Russian 13th seed Svetlana Kuznetsova to reach the last eight at Wimbledon on Monday, keeping her bid to equal Steffi Graf's professional-era record of grand slam titles on track.

Russian Kuznetsova, herself a double grand slam winner and three-times Wimbledon quarter-finalist, beat Williams on a hardcourt at the Miami Open in March.

But on a slippery Center Court the six-times Wimbledon champion was too hot to handle, and she booked her place in the next round in one hour 16 minutes, reeling off the last eight games in a 7-5 6-0 win.

The world number one next faces another Russian, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

Williams began the match as if late for an Independence Day appointment, serving a succession of aces and then hitting a brace of groundstroke winners, one off each wing, to break her opponent in the fourth game.

Kuznetsova fought her way back, varying her pace by mixing in slices and drop shots on a surface on which both players at times struggled to keep their footing.

She broke in the fifth game on her fifth break point, and again to lead 5-4 when a backhand cross court winner left the American sprawled on the turf.

But the Russian failed to serve out the set and, with drizzle threatening, both players complaining about the slippery conditions and even a ballboy losing his footing, the match was suspended at 5-5 for the roof to be closed.

When play resumed, Williams won the next two games, taking the set when Kuznetsova netted a backhand service return drilled right at her feet -- and taking the second set without conceding another game.

(Reporting by John Stonestreet, Editing by Ken Ferris)