The Worlds Favourite Playground

Wednesday, Feb 26th

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Serena Williams stayed on course to winning the 'Calendar Grand Slam' by booking her place in the quarter-finals of Wimbledon with a routine 6-4, 6-3 against big sister Venus, also a five time champion here at SW19.

Venus was competitive for brief spells in the contest, but a break of serve in the fifth game of the opening set was enough for Serena to serve out rather comfortably, and a break in the 7th game of the second put the younger Williams in the drivers' seat. Serena broke serve once more for good measure when Venus served to stay in the match in the 9th game, and in a little over an hour, the battle between perhaps the two best grass court players of their generation was over.

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Heather Watson came, she saw and she fell agonizingly short. The 23 year old from the small island of Guernsey produced the best tennis of her young professional career and was two points away from beating arguably the greatest female tennis player of all time, however, world no.1 Serena Williams produced her best tennis when her back was against the wall, digging deep to pull off an incredible 6-2, 4-6, 7-5 in the match of the tournament at Wimbledon so far this year.

At one stage Serena appeared to be cruising into the fourth round, up 6-2, 4-3 against the young Brit, but Watson produced a dramatic comeback, rattling off 6 games in a row to win the second set and pull ahead 3-0 in the third with a double break in hand.

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serena_williamsA decade back, Venus Williams was the most dominant force at Wimbledon, winning the third of her five titles at the Championships in 2005 and looking absolutely impervious. Now 35 year old and without a major title in 7 years, Venus is considered an also ran at SW 19. Try explaining that to young Madison Brengle though.

The 25 year old American was treated to a grass court tennis lesson by the elder Williams sister, who produced a thumping 6-0, 6-0 victory in just 42 minutes to remind everyone watching just what a great player she once was.

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Former world No.1 Venus Williams has today confirmed she will play at the Hobart International 2014. The seven-time Grand Slam champion is excited to make her debut at the Tasmanian tournament in the new year.

“I’ve never played in Hobart before, I hear it’s a very beautiful city and I can’t wait to meet my fans there,” said Williams. “The tournament is played on the same surface as the Australian Open, so it will be great place to get some good match practice against tough opponents before I head to Melbourne.

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Milos Raonic advanced to the quarter-finals for the second straight year at the Thailand Open in Bangkok, an ATP World Tour 250 event. As the tournament’s third seed, Raonic received an opening round bye and began his title campaign with a 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-4 win over Australia’s Marinko Matosevic in round two.  Raonic hit 21 aces in the victory and avenges the loss he suffered at the hands of Matosevic during the summer hard court season in Washington.

In the final eight on Friday, Raonic will face sixth-seeded Spaniard Feliciano Lopez in what will be his fourth quarter-final of the season. The 22-year-old Canadian defeated Lopez in four sets en route to reaching the Round of 16 at the U.S. Open last month.

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Eugenie Bouchard notched up her second career Top 10 win on Wednesday to advance to her fourth quarter-final of the season at the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo, Japan. A day after taking out fellow rising star, world no.13 Sloane Stephens of the United States in three sets, Bouchard was dominant en route to a 7-5, 6-2 victory over no. 10 ranked Serbian Jelena Jankovic to reach the final eight.

The opening set was played evenly until Bouchard broke serve in the eleventh game and followed up with a comfortable service hold to take the early lead. The 19-year-old broke Jankovic’s serve early and often in the second set thanks to her trademark aggressive play to secure a straight sets victory in just over an hour against the former World No. 1.

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When the draw was made for the 2013 US Open, the first round match between world no.1 and title favourite Serena Williams and 2010 French Open champion Francesca Schiavone promised to be an exciting contest. However, disappointingly perhaps for the neutrals the match turned out to be a comprehensive rout, once again reaffirming why Williams is arguably the best player in the world, and justifying why the Italian veteran is no longer in the top echelons of the women's game.

A bagel and a breadstick were on offer as Williams destroyed Schiavone 6-0, 6-1 in an hour to power into the second round where one hopes the fans will get to see more of a contest than what was provided by the usually battling Italian.

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