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."