NEW YORK (Reuters) - Venus Williams underlined her title credentials at the U.S. Open on Sunday after she reached the quarter-finals with an impressive 6-4 6-2 victory over fifth seed Ana Ivanovic.
The Wimbledon champion, seeded 12th, was close to her dominant best as she made it four wins out of four against the Serb, clinching victory in 80 minutes.
Williams used her powerful serve to gain the upper hand against 19-year-old Ivanovic, never losing service in the fourth-round match.
At one point, Williams connected on 12 successive first serves to seize control of the match.
“I have to use my serve as a weapon, and obviously my first serve is really a weapon,” said Williams, aiming to claim the U.S. Open singles crown for the first time since capturing back-to-back titles in 2000-2001.
“It’s just about being able to perform when it’s most necessary, and obviously she’s a very good player, really talented, and I know that it’ll do me a lot of good to get that first serve.”
Williams, who has regained her form since coming back from a left wrist injury that ruined her 2006 season, was asked if she thought she was playing as well as she did during her run to a fourth Wimbledon championship.
“The funny part is that I never felt that I played well at Wimbledon,” said Williams, 27.
“Finally, I looked at some films this week and I was like, ‘Oh, I played very well.’ Finally the realization came that I did play well.”
Ivanovic, runner-up to Belgian Justine Henin at the French Open and a semi-finals loser to Williams at Wimbledon, said another grand slam title could be coming Williams’s way.
“Definitely,” the Serbian teen-ager said. “She’s the type of player that plays better each match, and as the tournament progress she is raising her level.”
The round-of-16 opponent for Williams will either be another Serb, third seed Jelena Jankovic, or Austrian 19th seed Sybille Bammer.
Also advancing was Serena Williams, a straight-sets winner over Wimbledon runner-up Marion Bartoli of France, who will meet top seed Justine Henin in the quarters.
The Williams sisters could meet in the semi-finals.
“That would be awesome,” Venus Williams said. “Because it would mean that there is a Williams in the final, and it would mean that Americans have a chance to win.”