Rome: Venus Williams powered into the Italian Open quarter-finals on Thursday with a dominant 6-1 3-6 6-1 victory over fifth seed Johanna Konta.
Williams, who had lost her last three encounters with the British number one, showed no signs of nerves as she dictated play from the baseline and broke Konta twice in the first set.
Konta recovered to take the second set and level the match but Williams, who won the Rome title in 1999, came back spectacularly with a decisive double break in the third set.
The American will meet either defending champion Garbine Muguruza or Germany’s Julia Georges in the quarter-finals.
Estonian qualifier Anett Kontaveit, who defeated world number one Angelique Kerber on Wednesday, continued to build momentum with a 6-1 6-1 victory over 16th-seed Croatian Mirjana Lucic-Baroni.
Sixth-seed Simona Halep marched past Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-1 4-6 6-0 in the other third-round clash. The Romanian will face Kontaveit in the quarter-finals.
Unseeded Daria Gavrilova stunned Russia’s Svetlana Kuznetsova to reach the final eight of the competition with a 2-6 7-5 6-4 victory.
Meanwhile, Maria Sharapova has been granted a wildcard for next month’s WTA grasscourt event in Birmingham, a key Wimbledon warm-up, organisers said on Thursday.
The decision came just a day after the Russian former world No. 1 was refused a wildcard for the French Open following her 15-month ban for doping.
“Five-time Grand Slam Champion Maria Sharapova has been named as the first of seven Main Draw singles wild cards for this summer’s British WTA grass court events organised by the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA),” said a statement.
Results from the Italian Open Women’s Singles Round 3 matches on Thursday/s15-Kiki Bertens (Netherlands) beat Ekaterina Makarova (Russia) 7-6(3) 6-1 9-Venus Williams (US) beat 5-Johanna Konta (Britain) 6-1 3-6 6-1 6-Simona Halep (Romania) beat 12-Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (Russia) 6-1 4-6 6-0/sDaria Gavrilova (Australia) beat 7-Svetlana Kuznetsova (Russia) 2-6 7-5 6-4 Anett Kontaveit (Estonia) beat 16-Mirjana Lucic-Baroni (Croatia) 6-1 6-1