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Williams eases through

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Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:04

The American now faces an intriguing showdown with third seed Dinara Safina of Russia.

Williams is a former world number one with 37 career titles and seven grand slam trophies, while Safina has enjoyed a breakthrough season with four titles.

This will be the first time that the 28-year-old American has faced Safina, who also progressed on Thursday with a 6-1 7-6 (8/6) triumph over Bulgarian qualifier Tsvetana Pironkova.

The younger sister of two-time grand slam champion Marat Safin, Safina is well on her way to matching her brother’s accomplishments. She has reached the final in seven of her last nine events and climbed to a career-best ranking of third as a result.

The 22-year-old has beaten the world’s best during that stretch, as she became the only player in history to defeat three different world number one players in the same season – Justine Henin, Maria Sharapova and Jelena Jankovic.

Williams has seen limited action this campaign, but saved her best effort for Wimbledon, where she beat sister Serena Williams in the final to claim the title for the second straight year and fifth time overall.

Venus already has fared better in Stuttgart than her younger sister, who won the US Open last month. Serena was the top seed, but was upset by Na Li on Wednesday and will lose her world number one ranking to Jankovic on Monday as a result of the early exit.

The second-seeded Jankovic also moved through to the last eight on Thursday with a 6-2 6-0 thrashing of Ukrainian Alona Bondarenko – the sister of Kateryna. Awaiting the 23-year-old Serbian is seventh-seeded Russian Vera Zvonareva, who was a 6-2 6-0 winner against Marion Bartoli of France.

Also progressing was unseeded Russian Nadia Petrova, who booked a quarter-final match with Li after ousting Patty Schnyder of Switzerland 6-4 6-1.

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