Rome: World number one Serena Williams produced an imperious form as she booked her place in the quarter-finals of the Italian Open after beating her American fellow mate Christina McHale in straight-sets in women’s singles event here on Thursday.
The 21-time Grand Slam champion survived an early break to outlast McHale 7-6(9-7), 6-1 in the third round contest that lasted for one hour and 41 minutes.
Williams will now lock horns with ninth-seed Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia, who survived an up-and-down affair against Daria Gavrilova to secure 6-2, 2-6, 6-3 win.
Williams hasn’t won a title since a hard-court event in Cincinnati last August. She was the runner-up in this year’s Australian Open and Indian Wells Masters.
Meanwhile, in the men’s singles event, fifth-seed Rafael Nadal also stormed into the quarter-finals of the tournament after rebounding strongly from the first-set defeat to record a 6-7, 6-2, 6-4 win over Australian controversial star Nick Kyrgios.