HONG KONG: Seven-time Grand Slam winner Venus Williams eased through to the quarterfinals of the Hong Kong Open on Thursday, dazzling China’s Wang Yafan.
Wang, 21, struggled to get into the match and Williams strode to a 6-0, 6-2 victory.
“I had only seen Williams before on TV,” said Wang through a translator.
“I was nervous of playing someone so well-known and that meant I didn’t play very well.”
Williams, 35, encouraged the young player, saying she had been “spirited” in the second set.
“She’s young, she’s in the top 150 which is already a good result.”
Williams will face French eighth seed Alize Cornet in her quarterfinals.
The American has had a resurgent season and is fighting for a place in the eight-player WTA Finals in Singapore later this month, with Hong Kong her last chance to get the points she needs.
She is currently 11th in the Road to Singapore rankings.
“I’m definitely much happier with this kind of result… I’m in the next round,” said Williams of the match against Wang.
Williams had to battle to a three-set victory over unseeded Yuliya Beygelzimer in her first-round match earlier this week.
Cornet, meanwhile, beat Kazakhstan’s Yaroslava Shvedova in three sets in her second-round match Thursday.
Caroline Garcia of France breezed into the quarters after a 6-0, 6-2 win against Anastasiya Komardina.
She will meet world number 10 Angelique Kerber of Germany who beat Japan’s Kurumi Nara 6-2, 6-2 in her second-round match Thursday.
The other quarterfinals see former world number one Jelena Jankovic meet Russia’s sixth seed Daria Gavrilova and Britain’s Heather Watson play fifth seed Australian Samantha Stosur.