Venus sweeps past Ivanovic
Eastbourne - Venus Williams eased into the quarter-finals at Eastbourne with a convincing 6-3, 6-2 win over Ana Ivanovic on Wednesday.
The unseeded American, playing her second match following a five-month layoff, served well against the former No 1 and didn't face a single break point in the first set while breaking Ivanovic twice.
"Obviously it's great, no breaks of serve," Williams said. "To be honest, I thought she played really well and when she had the chance to strike the ball she was hitting the corners, so I felt good to be able to get on top of her today."
Ivanovic had her one and only break point at 1-0 in the second set but Williams sent down a 196 kph (122 mph) first serve to save it before breaking twice more.
Williams will face French Open champion Li Na or Daniela Hantuchova in the next round.
The 30-year-old Williams was in much better form on Wednesday than in her first match in Eastbourne, a three-set struggle against eighth-seeded Andrea Petkovic.
As well as her serve, Williams looked to have rediscovered the timing on her forehand and it was a series of big hits off that wing that earned her the first break of the match at 2-1.
Ivanovic, who reached her first semi-final of the year in Birmingham last week, kept the match competitive with some crowd-pleasing winners, including a delicate backhand, crosscourt pass that left Williams completely flat-footed and set her on the way to a break point early in the second set.
However, Williams always looked in control as she improved her record against Ivanovic to 7-1.
"Right now I feel that I'm playing very tough and I'm playing well on the big points," Williams said. "These matches have been huge and crucial for me to just get back in the swing of things."
Williams had little expectation of what she might achieve at her first tournament since January, and her goal is just to play as many matches as possible leading into Wimbledon.
"I was hoping not to be injured this week. The first smash was definitely nerve wracking," she said. "Just hoping to come off the court on two legs - that was the first goal. Then to win a match is the ultimate goal. To have the opportunity to play another match is a great start.
"So I'm starting to have a couple of dominoes. I'm excited to be able to be able to play a third match. I just need matches."