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Tennis: Venus topples birthday girl Azarenka

Published on Aug 1, 2014 4:37 PM
Venus Williams of the Unites States of America plays against Victoria Azarenka of Belarus during Day 4 of the Bank of the West Classic at the Taube Family Tennis Stadiumon on July 31, 2014, in Stanford, California. -- PHOTO: AFP

STANFORD, California (AFP) - Seven-time Grand Slam tennis champion Venus Williams ousted fourth-seeded birthday girl Victoria Azarenka in straight sets on Thursday to reach the quarter-finals of the WTA hard-court tournament at Stanford.

The 6-4, 7-6 (7-1) triumph kept Williams on course for a possible semi-final showdown with her sister Serena, the world No. 1 and top seed who will take on Ana Ivanovic in the quarter-finals on Friday.

"Williams-Williams tomorrow, hopefully," Venus told the crowd at the campus of Stanford University, where she came out on top in a hard-fought, physical duel with Azarenka that lasted an hour and 42 minutes.

"It's never easy to play Victoria. We've always had extremely tough matches, so I expected that tonight as well," said Williams, who acknowledged that Azarenka may have been at a disadvantage after having a first-round bye.

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