S Williams beats Shahar Peer at French Open

Paris: Top-ranked Serena Williams advanced smoothly to the quarterfinals of the French Open by beating Shahar Peer 6-2, 6-2 today, and Novak Djokovic reached the same stage on the men’s side.

Williams complained of dizziness from a cold following a seesaw three-set win in her previous match, but the only wobble against the No. 18-seeded Peer came at the start. Williams lost the first seven points, then swept nine in a row.

From 2-all, Williams won five consecutive games to take charge of the match.

Afterward, she was interviewed courtside by former French player Cedric Pioline.

“I love Paris,” she told the crowd in French. “My game is better. I hope I’m going to win.”

The No. 3-seeded Djokovic eliminated the last American in the men’s draw, beating Robby Ginepri 6-4, 2-6, 6-1, 6-2.

Ginepri was serving at love-1 in the third set when went down face-first chasing a shot. He made the most of his awkward court position by doing two push-ups, but lost the next two points to lose serve, and won only three games the rest of the way.

Djokovic’s next opponent will be No. 22 Jurgen Melzer, a first-time Grand Slam quarterfinalist playing in his 32nd major event. The Austrian advanced by beating qualifier Teimuraz Gabashvili 7-6 (6), 4-6, 6-1, 6-4.

On another chilly, cloudy, windy afternoon, center court was half empty for the start of Williams vs Peer.

It didn’t last long: Williams hit six aces, broke six times and won in just over an hour.

Serena’s sister Venus, eliminated Sunday, watched from the stands. She did not wear a corset.

Peer fell to 0-10 against the Williams sisters, including 0-5 versus Serena. Peer is 4-22 against top-five opponents.

Serena is bidding for her 13th Grand Slam championship, and her second this year. Her lone French Open title came in 2002.

Ginepri, ranked 98th, was an unlikely round-of-16 foe for Djokovic. Ginepri entered the tournament with a 1-7 record this year, and a career record of 9-31 on clay.

Djokovic’s box included more than a dozen supporters who cheered and waved a Serbian flag every time he won a point. Ginepri’s without a coach and traveled to Paris by himself.

Still, the American played Djokovic on even terms for more than an hour. Ginepri held serve easily until the final game of the first set, when he was broken.

Djokovic blew an easy forehand putaway to lose his serve for the first time, and Ginepri broke again while dominating the second set.

But then Ginepri faded fast, perhaps weary after playing 13 grinding sets in his first three matches. His groundstrokes became more erratic, and Djokovic won five consecutive games and 10 of 11 to take control.

The Serb volleyed well, found the range with his serve and used his drop shot to keep Ginepri off balance. A two-time semifinalist at Roland Garros, Djokovic is bidding for his second major title.

“I played really good in the third and fourth sets,” Djokovic said. “I had some really good matches on clay recently. Now I’m in the quarterfinals and I need to keep playing aggressively.”

Ginepri, a former top-15 player, fell to 0-15 against opponents ranked in the top three.

Bureau Report