Williams, Federer reach quarterfinals

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/s/serenawilliams1_ap.jpg' class='caption'> Serena Williams overcame two breaks in the second set to beat Dinara Safina of Russia 6-2, 6-3 Sunday and reach the quarterfinals of the French Open.

Updated: June 05, 2007 13:13 IST
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Serena Williams overcame two breaks in the second set to beat Dinara Safina of Russia 6-2, 6-3 Sunday and reach the quarterfinals of the French Open.

Williams, an eight-time Grand Slam champion who is trying to win her second title at Roland Garros, took a 4-0 lead in the first set, but struggled at times in the second.

Roger Federer also advanced to the quarterfinals, beating No 13 Mikhail Youzhny of Russia 7-6 (3), 6-4, 6-4.

The top-ranked Swiss star tied the Grand Slam record for most consecutive sets won in the Open era, taking his streak to 35.

Federer, trying to win his fourth consecutive major title and complete a career Grand Slam, also matched another Grand Slam mark with 11 straight-set victories in a row.

The 10th-seeded Safina broke Williams at love to even the second set at 3-3, but the American then won 12 of the last 14 points.

"That was definitely better today," said Williams, who missed the last two French Opens with injury but won the Australian Open in January.

Powerful ground strokes

Safina hurt herself with five double-faults, but her powerful ground strokes kept Williams moving all over the court.

"She hit hard, then she hit lobs, then she hit soft balls," Williams said. "She really gave me a lot of different pace."

The eighth-seeded Williams will face two-time defending champion Justine Henin in the quarterfinals. The top-ranked Belgian beat No 20 Sybille Bammer 6-2, 6-4.

"I know she's playing great, but I never count myself out," said Williams, who lost to Henin in a contentious 2003 French Open semifinal match.

Third-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova advanced by beating No 15 Shahar Peer of Israel 6-4, 6-3, and No 6 Nicole Vaidisova reached the quarterfinals by defeating No 19 Tathiana Garbin of Italy 6-3, 6-1.

"I feel like I'm getting better on clay," said Vaidisova, who reached the semifinals at Roland Garros last year and also made the last four at this year's Australian Open. "For some people it's a tough surface, but I like playing on it."

Federer hasn't lost a set at a major tournament since dropping the second set of last year's US Open final against Andy Roddick.

He won the last two sets of that match, then won all seven of his matches at the Australian Open in January in straight sets - becoming the first man to win a Grand Slam title without dropping a set since Bjorn Borg at the 1980 French Open.

Federer next faces No 9 Tommy Robredo, who defeated No 29 Filippo Volandri of Italy 6-2, 7-5, 6-1.

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