Venus Williams, Roger Federer, and Kim Clijsters reach quarters at Wimbledon

Venus Williams and Roger Federer moved into the quarterfinals at Wimbledon with straight-set victories Monday, while Kim Clijsters rallied to beat fellow Belgian Justine Henin in three sets.

Phil Noble/Reuters
Venus Williams of the US hits a return to Jarmila Groth of Australia at the 2010 Wimbledon tennis championships in London, on June 28.

Multiple champions Roger Federer and Venus Williams moved into the quarterfinals at Wimbledon with straight-set victories Monday, while Kim Clijsters rallied to beat fellow Belgian Justine Henin in three sets for a spot in the final eight.

Federer, chasing a record-tying seventh Wimbledon singles title, swept past 16th-seeded Jurgen Melzer 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 with a classic grass-court performance in the first match on Centre Court.

Top-seeded Federer, who was broken once but lost only 15 of 63 points on serve, has now reached the quarterfinals at 25 consecutive Grand Slam tournaments.

"I thought I played great," he said. "Aggressive right from the start."

Five-time champion Venus Williams overcame a tough challenge from the lowest-ranked player left in the draw. The second-seeded Williams broke back twice to stay in the second set, then escaped in the tiebreaker to complete a 6-4, 7-6 (5) victory on Court 2 over 92nd-ranked Jarmila Groth of Australia.

"There wasn't a lot of room for error for either one of us against each other's serve," Williams said. "She played really well today. I didn't think she made too many errors. Just really played some smart tennis and took advantage of opportunities. I played well at the end to close it out."

The victory sent Williams into her 31st Grand Slam quarterfinal and improved her record to 12-0 in fourth-round matches at the All England Club. She is seeded to meet sister Serena, the defending champion and three-time winner, in Saturday's final. Serena was facing 2004 champion Maria Sharapova.

Clijsters fought back to beat Henin 2-6, 6-2, 6-3 in a duel between two Belgians and former No. 1-ranked players making Wimbledon comebacks after returning from retirement. The win gave Clijsters a 13-12 advantage in their head-to-head meetings.

Henin received treatment on her right elbow on three changeovers after slipping and falling to the turf as she charged to the net at 2-1 in the first set. She said the elbow was "quite painful" and bothered her on her serves and backhands, but didn't know the extent of the problem.

"I don't really know how it affected (the match)," said Henin, who has seven Grand Slam titles but has yet to win Wimbledon. "We'll see in the next few days."

Henin seemed in complete command after easily winning the first set, but Clijsters lifted her game in the second to turn things around.

"She came out of the blocks really fast and she started dominating from the beginning of the rallies and I kind of felt overwhelmed by it," Clijsters said. "It was up to me at the beginning of the second set to stay in the points and serve better.

"I had to stay in the rallies and that's how I turned it around, a few longer rallies where I felt that I was hitting the ball better and it was going my way in the end."

Clijsters made the decisive break in eighth game of the final set after Henin sailed a forehand long, then closed out the match on serve. The two players exchanged kisses on the cheek at the net.

"I can't believe we're back to this after so many years of battling against each other," Clijsters said. "I think this was our 25th battle, so we go way back but we play really good tennis and I think we showed some good stuff out there today."

Clijsters will play Russian Vera Zvonareva in the quarterfinals.

Zvonareva advanced when fourth-seeded Jelena Jankovic retired with a back injury while trailing 6-1, 3-0. It's the fourth time the Serb has gone out in the fourth round here, while the Russian made it to the quarters for the first time.

In an upset, third-seeded Caroline Wozniacki lost 6-2, 6-0 in just 46 minutes to unseeded Czech Petra Kvitova. The 19-year-old Dane, last year's U.S. Open runner-up, was overwhelmed by the 62nd-ranked Kvitova, managing just four winners to her opponent's 23.

The Williams-Groth match got off to a bizarre start, with Venus showing up nearly 10 minutes late on court. As Groth and the chair umpire waited at the net, she didn't arrive until 12:09 local time (1109 GMT). A stern-faced Williams didn't apologize or speak at all as she went to her chair.

Williams put it all down to a simple mixup.

"I didn't know the procedure for Court 2, so I was waiting on someone to get me," she said. "No one came. So eventually I just came out."

Monday's schedule featured all 32 remaining players in action in men's and women's fourth-round matches.


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