Wozniacki, Williams advance to Auckland quarters

Top seed Caroline Wozniacki and Venus Williams advanced to the Auckland Classic quarter-finals and kept alive the hopes of an anticipated final between the pair in dramatically contrasting circumstances on Wednesday.

Wozniacki, Williams advance to Auckland quarters

Auckland: Top seed Caroline Wozniacki and Venus Williams advanced to the Auckland Classic quarter-finals and kept alive the hopes of an anticipated final between the pair in dramatically contrasting circumstances on Wednesday.

Denmark`s Wozniacki had to battle back from a 5-2 deficit in the second set before overcoming American teenager Taylor Townsend, who produced a superb all court game that was mixed with blistering groundstrokes and soft hands around the net.

The world number eight raced through the first set 6-1 before the 2012 junior Australian Open champion finally got some rhythm to win four successive games in the second set and take a 5-2 lead.

Nerves, however, got the better of Townsend as Wozniacki scrambled back to 5-4 before she saved three set points to level at 5-5. 

The former world number one then raced through the tie-break to win 6-1 7-6 (7-4) and set up a tricky quarter-final clash with Germany`s Julia Goerges.

Third seeded Williams, who spent less than an hour on court on Tuesday, took a little longer to overcome Japan`s Kurumi Nara 6-4 6-1 on Wednesday and set up possibly the pick of the quarter-finals where she will face Russia`s Elena Vesnina.

The Russian world number 64 has a 2-1 career record over Williams, including a sensational 6-1 6-3 victory over the American in the first round at Wimbledon in 2012.

"When I played her at Wimbledon it was very special," Vesnina told reporters. "I won that match in two sets and I was so happy because I didn`t expect it.

"She`s a super great player, but on grass she`s the best of the best and to beat her there was amazing and I`m always saying this is the biggest win of my career.

"I`ll go on the court and I`ll try to show my best tennis, I`ll try to play aggressively, move her around.

"Whenever you go on court you want to win the match no matter who you`re playing."