Venus perseveres past Medina Garrigues, reaches Charleston semis

Apr 13, 2007 - 9:00 PM CHARLESTON, South Carolina (Ticker) -- Venus Williams got past a pesky opponent to set up a showdown with Jelena Jankovic.

The unseeded Williams gritted out a 6-4, 7-5 victory over Anabel Medina Garrigues of Spain on Friday in the quarterfinals of the $1.34 million Family Circle Cup.

After missing most of 2006 with a wrist injury, Williams has begun to re-establish herself as a dominant player this season, winning the Tier III event at Memphis and going 14-2 overall.

Williams took another step in her comeback campaign Friday, overcoming a 3-0 deficit in the second set to win her first career match against Medina Garrigues. The American star committed six double-faults, including four in the second set, but also converted a pair of late breaks to reach Saturday's semifinals.

A five-time Grand Slam champion, Williams figures to have a tougher time with the second-seeded Jankovic, the world's ninth-ranked player from Serbia.

Jankovic had struggled here in the past, failing to advance beyond the second round in her four previous trips to this claycourt event.

But the 22-year-old Serb has been outstanding here this year, posting three consecutive straight-sets wins while dropping a total of just seven games over that span.

Jankovic's latest victory was a 6-2, 6-0 romp over 12th seed Katarina Srebotnik of Slovakia. Jankovic coasted in a match which lasted just under 50 minutes, converting six break points.

Fourth-seeded Russian Dinara Safina takes on No. 10 Tatiana Golovin of France in Friday's night quarterfinal. The world No. 12, Safina has struggled in her career against Golovin, dropping three of the four all-time meetings between the two players.

Ninth seed Vera Zvonareva of Russia faces Michaella Krajicek of the Netherlands in the other quarterfinal. Zvonareva ousted seventh seed Ana Ivanovic on Thursday, 6-3, 6-3.

First prize is $196,900.

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