Ivanovic, Serena progress in Rome Tennis

ROME: Former world number one Ana Ivanovic continued her return to form at the claycourt Rome Open at the Foro Italico here as she took her third successive seed''s scalp.

The Serbian beauty beat 13th seed Nadia Petrova 6-2, 7-5 to reach Friday''s semi-finals following victories over ninth seed Viktoria Azarenka and fifth seed Elena Dementieva.

World number one Serena Williams had few problems in dismissing Russia''s Maria Kirilenko 6-1, 6-4. But she was denied a semi-final against her sister after an out-of-sorts Venus was crushed 6-0, 6-1 by seventh seed Jelena Jankovic.

Ivanovic will play another unseeded player in Spain''s Maria Martinez-Sanchez who beat the Czech Republic''s Lucie Safarova 7-6 (8/6), 6-4. The 27-year-old, ranked 26 in the world, had already shocked world number two Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark in the previous round.