Hantuchova beats Venus to enter Eastbourne semis

Eastbourne: Daniela Hantuchova ended the Williams sisters` run at the Eastbourne grasscourt event Thursday as she finally triumphed after ten losses in her career series with Venus.

The Slovak who had won just two sets previously against the American holder of five Wimbledon titles, secured a gritty 6-2, 5-7, 6-2 quarterfinal victory to send Venus out a day after her sister Serena lost to top seed Vera Zvonareva.

"I felt I came out and played well early in the match," said the winner.

"The wind picked up and made things tough for both of us. It was then about who had the mentality and I came through.”

"I`m feeling really good. My form is good."

Hantuchova, ranked 25th, laboured for two hours, 23 minutes after a delayed start due to rain in the area. The Slovak who played last week`s Birmingham final, won her 27th match of the season and heads into a semifinal against either fifth seed Petra Kvitova or Poland`s Agnieszka Radwanska.

The pair played their first match a decade ago and last met in Miami in March, where Williams won after coming back from a 1-6 first set.

Williams, her ranking down to 33rd, was playing an event for the first time in five months after an abdominal injury which forced her to quit a match at the Australian Open in January.

Her sister Serena came back this week after almost a year off court due to two operations on a cut foot last year and a February surgery to remove blood clots from her lungs.

Hantuchova, 2004 Eastbourne runner-up, won the opening set in 39 minutes from two breaks and a 5-2 lead. After claiming the first, she led 4-2 in the second and looked to be cruising before Williams laid on a fightback to eventually square the match.

In the third the Slovak got off to a break in the opening game, only to lose it in the fourth. But the 28-year-old fought on to break Williams straight back before repeating the effort and serving out the win on her first match point.

Men finally completed three left-over second-round matches topped by rain on Wednesday.

Janko Tipsarevic, the number three and last seed remaining, beat Mikhail Kukushkin 6-3, 7-6 (7/2), Belgian Olivier Rochus stopped Argentine Carlos Berlocq 3-6, 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (7/3) and Japan`s Kei Nishikori beat German veteran Rainer Schuettler 6-4, 4-6, 6-2.

Bureau Report

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