Madrid: Venus Williams has pretty much seen it all and done it all in the world of tennis so when Samantha Stosur tried a new tactic against her at the Madrid Open on Friday, it failed to ruffle the American.
The fourth seed crushed the Australian 6-3 6-3 to move into the semi-finals where she will meet either Li Na of China or Israel’s Shahar Peer.
On a chilly centre court, which had its huge sliding roof open, Stosur, who has never taken a set off Venus, gamely tried to overpower her opponent until she had her spirit broken when she lost her serve to go 4-3 down in the second set.
Venus sensed her chance against the world number eight, and with her grunts echoing around the half-empty arena she blasted her way through the next two games, dropping only one point.
“I didn’t think this was like a clay-court match, there were no rallies. It was just serve and hit hard. It was interesting,” Venus told reporters.
“She’s never beaten me before. She tried something new against me, but when people do that it just makes me stronger.”
Venus has started 2010 well and is set to move up to number two in the tour rankings next week, behind her sister Serena, for the first time since May 2003.
The two sisters are close to taking the number one slot in the doubles rankings as well.
“I like doing my job, my career, my life, my dog. I’m healthy and I’ve learned a lot,” Venus said with a smile from ear to ear, as she tried to explain her run of form.
“If we can get the doubles number one it would be great. I don’t think we ever thought we could do that.”
Unseeded Czech Lucie Safarova beat 16th-seed Nadia Petrova 6-1 1-6 6-4 to progress to the last four where she will face either Jelena Jankovic or Aravane Rezai, who meet later on Friday.
Safarova, who reached the quarter-finals in Stuttgart and Rome, had strapping around her left thigh but came out best in a topsy-turvy encounter to notch her first win against the big-serving Russian.