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Venus stays on course

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Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:37

In their only previous meeting, in the second round of the Australian Open earlier this year, the Spaniard triumphed in three sets, but it was a different story this afternoon as Williams eased to a 6-0 6-4 victory.

The third seed produced a near-faultless display in the opening set but was made to work harder in the second before a break in the ninth game proved decisive.

Like former world number one Justine Henin, Suarez Navarro is renowned for her single-handed backhand, and she produced one terrific pass in the opening game but it was not enough to prevent Williams breaking.

And that was to be the story of the opening set as three times the 20-year-old eventually came off second best after long service games.

Third seed Williams, meanwhile, was holding with ease and did so again to wrap up the opening set in 33 minutes. There was no respite for the Spaniard at the start of the second set as Williams broke again.

Suarez Navarro was struggling with the power and depth of the five-time champion’s shots and, when she did get an opportunity, the pressure to capitalise seemed too much.

She finally got on the board in the third game of the set with an ace on the decisive point, and surprisingly it was 2-2 moments later as Williams began to misfire.

Suarez Navarro, ranked 34th in the world, then made it three games in a row by holding serve again.

Williams pulled her game together to level at 3-3 but missed a series of break points as her opponent moved 4-3 in front. The third seed made no mistake two games later, though, Suarez Navarro pulling a backhand well wide to leave Williams serving for the match.

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