Serena hits 70 in Beijing
Originally published on: 03/10/13 00:00
The world No.1 fought off three set points in the opener and also went a break down in the second set before rallying for a 7-5 7-5 victory.
Kirilenko had never beaten Williams in seven previous meetings but made the American work hard at the Beijing Olympic Park.
The Russian served for the first set after breaking for a 5-4 lead, but Williams saved three set points as she clawed her way back into contention, breaking her opponent twice in succession to seal the set.
Kirilenko, the champion in Beijing in 2005, broke once again midway through the second set, but any hopes of the match going to a decider were swiftly dashed by Williams, who bounced back to seal the win in an hour and 27 minutes and book her place in the quarter-finals, where she will meet former world No.1 Caroline Wozniacki.
The US Open champion is only the fifth woman since 1995 to reach 70 match wins in a season. Kim Clijsters leads the way with a total of 90 wins in 2003, while Martina Hingis hit the milestone on three occasions (1997, 1999 and 2000). Justine Henin reached 75 match wins in 2003, while Jelena Jankovic was the last woman to top 70, winning 72 matches in 2007.
Williams also confirmed this week that she would be kicking off the 2014 season at the Brisbane International, where she is the defending champion.