Venus crushes Vera Zvonareva, storm into semis

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Bangalore, Mar 7 (UNI) Second seed Venus Williams of the U S crushed seventh seed Vera Zvonareva of Russia in straight sets 6-4, 6-3 to cruise into the semi-finals of the 60,000 Dollar WTA Bangalore Open here today.

The reigning Wimbledon Champion is likely to play against her sister Serena in the semis tomorrow. Serena was to clash with unseeded Anastasia Rodionova of Russia in another quarterfinal match, in the bottom half of the draw.

Earlier, fourth seed Patty Shynder of Sweden rallied back brilliantly to quell the stiff challenge posed by unseeded Uzbek Akgul Amanmuradova to win at 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(1). In the semi-final, Patty would meet the winner of the quarterfinal between top seed Jelena Jankkovic of Serbia and Zi Yan of China.

Venus continued to struggle with her serve conceding six double faults but still packed too much of punch into her game to win. The six time grand slam winner raced to a 3-0 lead in the first set, breaking Vera in the second game. Vera lost another services game serving two double faults in the sixth to trail 1-5 and seemed down and out.

However, the Russian came back breaking Venus in the seventh and ninth games to bridge the lead to 4-5. However the American reeled off three points in a row to break Vera again in the tenth game to go one-setup. She won the break point with a double fisted backhand passing shot and a lucky point at this stage saw her wrap up the first set in 45 minutes.

The domination was complete in the second set as Venus grew stronger and virtually subdued Vera who had done quite well in the first set using her strong forehand strokes to good effect. She began the second set with an ace in the opening game and saved a breakpoint with a brilliant serve to go one-game up. She broke Vera immediately to advance to 2-0 and then broke her again in the fourth game with a back hand cross court to hold a comfortable 4-1 lead and never looked back.

Overwhelmed by the barrage of strokes Vera, who had beaten Venus in the French open in 2003, said that her game was not good enough today to beat the second seed. ''She served well at crunch games and she deserved today's win'', said the Russian.

A contented Venus said she played better today than in second round against Peng of Chaina which went the full distance.

It would have been awesome had Serena and I played in the final.

Anyway I hope she wins later in the afternoon and we at least meet in the semis, she said.

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