Williams sisters reach Dubai Open quarter-finals

DUBAI: The Williams sisters of the United States have moved to the quarter-finals of the Dubai Open Tennis Tournament here on Wednesday.

Serena Williams, the world number one, won 6-4, 6-2 against Zheng Jie, the Wimbledon semi-finalist from China - seven hours after her elder sister Venus Williams also reached the last eight.

Serena had to fight hard in the first set, capturing it thanks to one break of serve chiselled painstakingly out in a 12-point ninth game full of great ground-strokes from both players.

After closing out the set without fuss, Serena broke again at once and dominated the second set, though she was not especially satisfied with her performance.

But Serena admitted that physically she was in good shape and that there were few problems with the knee which caused her to withdraw from the semi-finals of the Paris Open last week.

She now plays Ana Ivanovic for only the second time. The French Open champion won 6-2, 7-6 (7/5) against Camille Pin of France, having been a set and a break up.

Earlier Venus Williams progressed by beating one of the most spectacularly rising players.

The Wimbledon champion produced an impressively solid performance against Alize Cornet, a 19-year-old from Nice who has risen more than 50 places in little more than a year to within sight of the top ten.

But, after an absorbing first set, Venus made light of the young threat, and imposed her forceful game upon the tactical patterns which Cornet tried to create.

She also made many more forays to the net than she used to, eventually winning by a slightly misleading scoreline of 6-3, 6-1.

She next plays Elena Dementieva, the Olympic champion from Russia.

The biggest upset of the tournament so far happened in the other half of the draw with the defeat of Jelena Jankovic, the 2008 year-end world number one, by the 16th-seeded Estonian, Kaia Kanepi.

"It was one of the worst matches of my career," said Jankovic after her 6-2, 7-5 loss.