Williams Sisters Recover to Reach Australian Open Round 4

Serena and Venus Williams each survived after losing the first set to reach the fourth round at the Australian Open.

Serena Williams, the top seed, beat Elina Svitolina of Ukraine 4-6, 6-2, 6-0 on the first Saturday of the Grand Slam tennis tournament in Melbourne to set up a meeting with No. 24 seed Garbine Muguruza from Spain.

Venus, the 18th seed, defeated Camila Giorgi of Italy 4-6, 7-6 (7-3), 6-1 and will vie for a quarterfinal spot with Agnieszka Radwanska, the No. 6 seed from Poland who overcame Varvara Lepchenko of the U.S. 6-0, 7-5 in the first match today on Rod Laver Arena.

“She’s winning, she’s doing so well and I can do better,” Serena Williams said of her older sister. “We always motivate each other.”

In an all-American match-up, Madison Brengle eased past Coco Vanderweghe 6-3, 6-2. A sixth U.S. woman, world No. 35 Madison Keys, plays Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in the last match on Rod Laver Arena after men’s top seed Novak Djokovic takes on Spaniard Fernando Verdasco.

Wawrinka Advances

Defending men’s champion Stan Wawrinka defeated Jarkko Nieminen of Finland 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 to set up a fourth-round encounter with unseeded Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, who breezed past Canadian Vasek Pospisil 6-2, 6-4, 6-4.

By the end of Day Six, the men’s and women’s singles draws will each be whittled down to 16 players.

Serena Williams, 33, claimed the last of her five Australian Open titles in 2010. She won the U.S. Open for a sixth time last year to take her tally of major singles titles to 18, tied with Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova.

Venus -- whose best finish in Melbourne was runner-up to Serena in 2003 -- earned the last of her seven major singles titles at Wimbledon in 2008. The 34-year-old last reached the fourth round at a Grand Slam tournament at Wimbledon in 2011. She last got past the third round at the Australian Open in 2010, when she was a quarterfinalist.

“Well, this old cat has a few tricks left,” Venus said in an on-court interview. “I like to win titles, whether it’s a smaller event or a big event. That’s what I play for. So, yes, it’s great to be in the second week but is the fourth round my goal when I come to these tournaments? No.”

Serena’s next opponent, the 21-year-old Muguruza, didn’t drop a game in her decisive third set against unseeded Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland.

Dominika Cibulkova went through with a straight-sets win over Alize Cornet of France. Cibulkova, the No. 11 seed from Slovakia, will next play Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, who eliminated 25th seed Barbora Zahlavova Strycova of the Czech Republic 6-4, 6-4. The winner of that match will face Serena Williams or Muguruza for a place in the semifinals.

Milos Raonic, the No. 8 seed from Canada, advanced with a straight-sets win over Benjamin Becker of Germany. Raonic, a semifinalist at Wimbledon last year, will next play 12th-seeded Feliciano Lopez of Spain, who needed two tiebreaks to get past Jerzy Janowicz from Poland in straight sets.

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