US Open: Venus Williams battles past Carla Suarez Navarro

Venus Williams reached a staggering 12th quarterfinal in New York on Sunday night, battling past the tricky Carla Suarez Navarro in three sets as she continued her quest for a third US Open title.

Playing her fourth match on the Arthur Ashe Stadium this year, Williams looked shaky at times just as she has done on some of her previous matches at Flushing Meadows this tournament, especially when serving, though eventually proved too strong as she beat the talented Suarez Navarro, unseeded this year, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 in an hour and 50 minutes to reach the last eight for only the second time since 2010.

Williams on her way to the last eight (Getty/Clive Brunskill)
Williams on her way to the last eight (Getty/Clive Brunskill)

It was far from a flawless performance from the American, who hit seven double faults and only four aces, though that is a notable improvement from her third round match, with the Australian Open and Wimbledon finalist also hitting 31 winners to only one more error today. A tough quarterfinal against either Garbine Muguruza or Petra Kvitova awaits the two-time US Open champion.

Williams survives tough Suarez Navarro to continue fine Grand Slam form

The ninth seed in New York, Williams is one of only two women to reach the second week of every Grand Slam tournament this year and had impressed in the major tournaments this year, though was not facing any ordinary unseeded player; Suarez Navarro had beaten Williams three times before in the past, including at the Australian Open, and is a multiple major quarterfinalist, though fell just short today.

Williams got off to a perfect start, breaking in the opening game and easing to a 3-1 lead with Suarez Navarro misfiring early on. However, the American’s troubles briefly resurfaced, and the Spaniard was able to break back for 3-3 in the opening set.

Despite that brief setback, and also the fact that Suarez Navarro was now starting to strike the ball better, the two-time champion was able to break to retake the lead, and a strong end to the set saw her break for the third time and take the opening set.

Suarez Navarro fell just short in her quest to beat Williams (Getty/Richard Heathcote)
Suarez Navarro fell just short in her quest to beat Williams (Getty/Richard Heathcote)

Suarez Navarro had beaten Williams from a set down twice before, and that perhaps showed as the Spaniard took advantage of some shaky play from the American and eased to a double break lead at the beginning of the second set.

Williams was able to get one break back and saved a break point to avoid falling down a double break once again, though Spaniard managed to keep some momentum and remained solid on serve for the rest of set. Suarez Navarro continued to make the most of the ninth seed’s service troubles and broke to take the match to a decider.

After what had been a rather poor second set, Williams needed a strong start in the decider and got just that, breaking in the third game and consolidating to put herself just three games from the last eight. Suarez Navarro was struggling to match the resurgent American and the Spaniard quickly found herself a double break down as Williams continued to strike the ball well and held for a 5-1 lead. Serving to stay in the match once again, the Spaniard failed to challenge Williams, and the American took a second match point to reach the last eight.