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Williams beats battling Chakvetadze

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

The Wimbledon champion breezed effortlessly past world number one Jelena Jankovic on Thursday in an impressive display but was made to work for her 7-6 (7/1) 6-3 win over the world number 18, who pressed the American in the first set before Williams’ class and tremendous power prevailed.

The 28-year-old heads to Melbourne as one of the form players on tour after ending last season with back-to-back wins, including victory at the season-ending Championships in Doha, and she knows Friday’s win will go a long way in setting her up for another crack at a maiden Australian Open crown starting on January 19.

“I need to play all these matches, be down a break, go through a tie break and play close service games at the beginning of the season. I have been put in those situations and came through which is good,” said Williams.

“(Chakvetadze) was competitive from the beginning and that was important. She played well and I only started to get the edge at the end. I have played her before and she always played well so I was not surprised, I know what she is capable of.

“She was able to chase down a lot of balls and against a player like that it is just important to focus on what is going on on my side of the net and realise I might have to hit a few extra shots and also realise the reply might be a little shorter so I can come in and be a bit more aggressive.”

Williams’ win set Team Americas on their way in the revamped Fed Ex Cup-style competition but the day ended with Team Russia on level terms after world number seven Vera Zvonareva recorded a seesaw 6-4 0-6 6-3 win over Argentina’s Gisela Dulko.

On Saturday Chakvetadze faces Dulko and Williams takes on Zvonareva before a potentially decisive doubles contest in the best-of-five final, when Williams will team up with US Open Junior champion Coca Vandeweghe and Zvonareva will partner 19-year-old Alexandra Panova.

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