Rome, Italy (Sports Network) - Last week's Madrid titlist Serena
Williams and her big sister Venus were among those recording third-round
victories Thursday at the $2.168 million Italian Open tennis event, a
clay-court French Open tune-up.
The ninth-seeded former No. 1 Serena held her serve throughout in whipping
Spaniard Anabel Medina Garrigues 6-3, 6-1 in 76 minutes, while the wild card
Venus upset fifth-seeded Aussie Samantha Stosur 6-4, 6-3 at Foro Italico.
Venus and Stosur combined for 10 service breaks, including six for the
The former top-ranked Venus was the Rome champion back in 1999 and runner-up
Stosur, who stunned Serena in last year's U.S. Open finale, was last year's
Italian Open runner-up to Maria Sharapova.
The 2002 Rome champion Serena, now 16-0 on clay this year, upset current
world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka in last week's finale on the controversial blue
clay in Madrid. Azarenka pulled out of this Roman event on Wednesday night,
citing a right shoulder injury. The Belarusian star pulled out after posting a
55-minute second-round win against Israeli Shahar Peer.
Serena's quarterfinal opponent on Friday will be Italian crowd favorite Flavia
Meanwhile, fourth-seeded Wimbledon champ Petra Kvitova held off Romanian
Sorana Cirstea 6-2, 5-7, 6-2 on Day 4. The formidable Czech will face rising
German Angelique Kerber on Friday. Kvitova beat Kerber in a quarterfinal in
Stuttgart last month.
In other third-round play, a 12th-seeded Kerber handled fellow German Julia
Goerges 6-4, 6-1 and Pennetta dismantled Czech Petra Cetkovska 6-0, 6-1.
The 2012 Rome titlist will collect $385,000.
The Sports Network