Hingis, Novotna Win at Wimbledon
WIMBLEDON, England (AP) _ Venus Williams powered into the Wimbledon quarterfinals today, easily beating the player who knocked her sister out the tournament a day earlier.
Volleying with authority for the first time and showing an all-court game that could make her a real title threat, Williams defeated Virginia Ruano-Pascual 6-3, 6-1.
The prospect of a fourth-round meeting between Venus and her sister was dashed Monday when 16-year-old Serena Williams failed to get past Ruano-Pascual. Citing a calf injury, Serena quit the third-round match while trailing 7-5, 4-1.
Venus took pleasure in avenging that result.
``I wanted to win every point, all the points that Serena couldn’t win yesterday,″ the 18-year-old American said. ``I didn’t like it when she (Ruano-Pascual) came back to 4-3. That was negligent on my part. I had to get serious to make sure she didn’t get too many more games.″
Also advancing to the quarterfinals were defending champion Martina Hingis, last year’s runner-up Jana Novotna and French Open champion Arantxa Sanchez Vicario.
Hingis, the top seed, beat Thailand’s Tamarine Tanasugarn 6-3, 6-2, No. 3 Novotna downed No. 10 Irina Spirlea 6-2, 6-3 and No. 5 Sanchez Vicario rallied for a 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 win over Dominique Van Roost.
Williams will face Novotna in the quarters, while Hingis will play Sanchez Vicario.
In men’s play, defending champion Pete Sampras moved closer to his fifth title in six years by beating French qualifier Sebastian Grosjean 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 to reach the quarters.
Sampras, who hasn’t dropped a set so far, finished the match with his 13th and 14th aces. He was never broken, faced only one break point and broke Grosjean four times.
``I felt pretty good today,″ Sampras said. ``I haven’t played a baseliner until today, which was a little bit unusual. I’m playing pretty well, holding serve pretty handily. It’s been a pretty good week.″
Sampras, whose third-round match stretched over four days because of rain delays, was happy to get this one over quickly.
``It was nice to start a match and complete a match in one day,″ he said.
Sampras will next face big-serving Mark Philippoussis, who downed fellow Australian Jason Stoltenberg 5-7, 6-1, 6-3, 6-3.
Richard Krajicek, the 1996 champion and No. 9 seed, swept to a 6-3, 6-3, 7-5 victory over Wayne Ferreira. No. 14 Goran Ivanisevic, who had won only one match in his five previous Grand Slams, downed Todd Martin 7-6 (7-5), 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7-2).
Jan Siemerink was a four-set winner over Magnus Larsson, while 65th-ranked Davide Sanguinetti of Italy _ who had won only one Grand Slam match before this tournament _ continued his run by beating Francisco Clavet in straight sets.
Williams, runner-up at the U.S. Open last year, said Wimbledon would be the ideal place to win her first Grand Slam title.
``I think there will be many more,″ she said. ``It all starts right now. ... I’m trying to get as serious as possible. I want to have every point. The people that win the Slams are the people who work the hardest.″
Williams overwhelmed the 47th-ranked Spaniard with her best performance so far, mixing big serves and groundstrokes with lobs, drop shots and volleys.
``With every match I’m able to play smarter, able to come in more, able to serve better,″ she said. ``I’m serving consistently and that’s very important.″
In previous matches, Williams had been reluctant to go to the net, a tactic she may need to master to win on grass.
But on Tuesday she was an imposing force at the net, taking full advantage of her height (6-foot-1 1/2) and long arms. She attacked on every short ball and won more than 20 points at the net.
The match ended, fittingly, with Williams coming in behind a serve return and punching a forehand volley Ruano-Pascual could barely reach.
``I don’t really think I played that well today,″ Williams said. ``I tried more things, but I think at certain points, I was a little inconsistent. I was more diligent in coming in today, actually attacking.″
While Serena had neglected to shake hands with the Spaniard after quitting Monday, Venus stood at the net and exchanged handshakes.
Novotna is a two-time Wimbledon finalist with the most natural grass-court game in women’s tennis. But Williams said she didn’t even know until today that Novotna was in her half of the draw and she was clearly not in awe of her next opponent.
``She’s a good grass-court player,″ Williams said. ``She played well last year and is playing well this year, and so am I.″
Hingis got off to a slow start, losing serve in the first game and struggling to find her rhythm. But she won the next four games and breezed to victory over her 42nd-ranked opponent.
``I had a little bit of a problem at the beginning to get into it,″ Hingis said. ``The second set was much better. I was always more aggressive and controlling the games and the points.″
Hingis said she may have been affected by the 11 a.m. start.
``Everything was kind of very fast in the morning,″ she said. ``I was still sleeping in practice.″
Tournament officials scheduled early matches to clear a backlog caused by the rain delays. The sun was out today and there was only a small chance of showers.
In women’s play Monday, the quarterfinalists in the bottom half of the draw were set when No. 2 Lindsay Davenport, No. 6 Monica Seles, No. 16 Nathalie Tauziat and Natasha Zvereva advanced in straight sets. Seles will face Zvereva, while Davenport will play Tauziat.