Belfast Telegraph

Wimbledon: Venus sets up Pironkova revenge mission

Venus Williams is ready to exact revenge on Tsvetana Pironkova after setting up a fourth-round clash against the Bulgarian with a ruthless demolition of Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez.

Williams will take on Pironkova on Monday after sweeping aside the Martinez Sanchez 6-0 6-2 on Court One yesterday.

Williams edged past veteran Kimiko Date-Krumm in her second-round match, but showed no signs of weakness.

She lost just 13 points in the first set before continuing to overpower her Spanish opponent with a powerful and aggressive performance in the second.

Pironkova produced one of the shocks of the tournament last year when she knocked out five-time champion Williams in the quarter-finals.

The American looked out of sorts against Pironkova that day, wasting break points and double-faulting on her way to defeat.

She admits she was well below par then, and has vowed not to make the same mistakes again when the pair meet on Monday.

“Last year I didn't play that well, unfortunately. I don't feel I competed well. Regardless of how I play, I know I'll be competing this time,” said Williams.

Twelve months ago Williams lost 6-2 6-3, and now she believes she can turn the tables.

“This is the fourth round. Now I'm ready to bring my best game and my best competition,” she said.

“Last year I think I just got unhappy with how I was playing and I let that affect my game. This year I won't let that happen.

“I let a few games get away, and instead of coming back, I let it all get to me. You can't do that, especially in a Wimbledon quarter-final. I won't let anything get to me this time.”

Williams may have missed the majority of 2011 with a hip injury, but she showed no signs of discomfort, combining power and precision in a win that was wrapped up in an hour and one minute.

The seven-time grand slam champion knows that Pironkova will go into next week's clash full of confidence though, having knocked out number two seed Vera Zvonareva 6-2 6-3.

“It looks like she's playing pretty well,” Williams said.

“She moves well and she looks like she can mix up her shots really well. To take out the second seed is never an easy task.”

After coming back from a set down to sneak past 40-year-old Date-Krumm 6-7 (6/8) 6-3 8-6 in round two, Williams was glad to dominate.

“I felt like I had been attacked enough in that second-round match,” she said.

“I knew how she [Martinez Sanchez] was going to play. I played her here before on the grass so I thought my best bet was definitely to make sure I took the net away from her first. It worked out really well.”

There were worries that Williams, seeded 23rd, would not be able to mix it with the best after recent injury, but she is now in confident mood moving into the second week of the tournament.

“I feel like I'm moving very well, which is exciting for me, especially after all my injuries,” Williams said.

“It seems I do move quickly to the net on grass.”

Meanwhile, fourth seed Victoria Azarenka reacted brightest to a rain delay on Wimbledon's Centre Court to clinch a three-set victory over Daniela Hantuchova.

At one stage the match was tied at one set all and with Hantuchova serving at 2-1 down when the rain came, forcing the players off court while the roof was closed.

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