Venus Williams collected one of her best wins of the year beating Victoria Azarenka 6-4, 7-6(1) in the third round at Stanford last night.
“Obviously it’s always great to get a win against a player like Victoria, because she’s a champion, so it feels good,” Venus said afterwards. “But also she hasn’t been playing as much. I think she’s still looking for her range. A lot of the time she played some great points but sometimes she had some errors she wasn’t expecting, and I think that’ll just clear up for her the more matches she plays.”
Azarenka, who was celebrating her 25th birthday, hasn’t made a quarterfinal since the Australian Open. And the loss will send her out of the Top 10 for the first time this decade.
Venus could face sister Serena in the Saturday semis, but next up for the 33-year-old star is German Andrea Petkovic.
Serena will face former No. 1 Ana Ivanovic on Friday with a chance to avenge her loss to the Serb at the Australian Open.
“It’s a good sign. It means we’re getting further into the tournaments to play each other,” Ivanovic said after a quick 6-1, 6-1 win over Carol Zhao. “It’s going to be a tough challenge, but at the same time it’s a good test, because when you’re starting out with a new coach it’s good for them to see where you’re at and what you have to work on.”
Angelique Kerber and Garbine Muguruza also advanced to meet in the quarterfinals.
In Washington, top seed Tomas Berdych got bounced by Vasek Pospisil 6-2, 6-4. Berdych, who is now in the Top 5, wasn’t pleased with his flat performance.
“That was not one of my best,” Berdych said. “It’s something that needs to be dealt with and go on. I need to move on and work even harder.”
Another big-serving Canadian won as Milos Raonic took down former No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt in two breakers.
“I’m happy with a lot of things about the win today, especially the way I was able to fight through the important games,” said Raonic. “I was able to find my rhythm well at the end of each set. He made it difficult for me. The right attitude really got me through today in the key moments.”
Raonic will face American Steve Johnson today in the quarters. The 24-year-old Johnson upset his second straight giant yesterday. After edging John Isner in the second round, Johnson did it again Thursday by beating Ivo Karlovic also in a final set breaker!
Karlovic was serving 6-4 in the third set breaker but a missed volley and a later double fault did him in.
Kevin Anderson, Richard Gasquet, Kei Nishikori and Donald Young also advanced to the quarters.
The women’s quarters today features 2-time Slam winner Svetlana Kuznetsova against Vania King.
In a wet Kiztbuhel, the final clay stop of the summer has the 20-year-old Dominic Thiem winning the first of his two matches today. Thiem beat Marcel Granollers in the quarters and will now meet Juan Monaco later today in the semis.
The surging David Goffin is currently playing Maximo Gonzalez in the other semi.
FRIDAY WASHINGTON SCHEDULE
SCHEDULE – FRIDAY, 1 AUGUST 2014
STADIUM COURT start 1:00 pm
ATP –  K Anderson (RSA) vs D Young (USA)
ATP – S Johnson (USA) vs  M Raonic (CAN)
ATP –  K Nishikori (JPN) vs  R Gasquet (FRA)
Not Before 9:15 pm
ATP –  V Pospisil (CAN) vs  S Giraldo (COL)
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Serena Williams On Sister Venus: She’s Always Been Very Mature And Very Regal
Serena Returns Tonight In Stanford; Berdych, Raonic, Isner Begin In Washington
Venus, Serena Williams Into Wimbledon Semifinals
Tennis-X Funk/Trunk: Murray Funky, Federer Not