17th May, 2013
World No. 1 Serena Williams comfortably made the quarterfinals of the Italian Open in Rome with a 6-0, 6-1 mauling of Slovakia’s 14th seed Dominika Cibulkova yesterday.
Serena, who has now won 21 successive matches, will face Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro for a spot in the semifinals.
“Nothing is ever perfect – I learned that last year when I felt perfect,” said Serena, referring to her stunning first-round loss at Roland Garros in 2012.
“I am still in the danger zone.”
Serena added: “I can’t remember the other winning streaks, but I hope I can get to 22 and the rest of the matches that I have here.
“Plus seven, and Wimbledon too, so it would be dangerous to lose now.”
Unseeded two-time champion Jelena Jankovic upset 2011 Roland Garros winner Li Na, the Chinese fifth seed, 7-6 (7/2), 7-5.
“I felt like I wasn’t playing so badly today, it was just a really long, tough match between me and JJ,” Li said.
“I was trying a lot of things out there on the court today. Sometimes it was working, sometimes it didn’t.”
Meanwhile, Russia’s Maria Sharapova has pulled out of the Rome Open, citing “physical problems”, the WTA said early today.
The two-time winner of the tournament and world number two had been due to play Italy’s Sara Errani in the quarter-finals.
Errani, the world number six, will now go through to the semi-finals to meet the winner of the match between Australia’s Samantha Stosur and Viktoria Azarenka of Belarus.
Sharapova had earlier brushed aside America’s Sloane Stephens 6-2, 6-1, to reach the quarterfinals.