WTA Lexington Day 4 wrapup: Serena tops Venus; Rogers, Bellis, Teichmann reach quarterfinals 

TmlmThe second round of the Top Seed Open was completed on Thursday with the top half of the draw in action. The feature match was the clash between top seed Serena Williams and Venus Williams with Serena rallying for the victory.

Fellow Americans Shelby Rogers and CiCi Bellis also booked their spots in the final eight as well as Jil Teichmannwho blasted fifth seed Yulia Putintseva. 

Serena fights back against inspired Venus

The 31st matchup between Serena and Venus produced one of their best matches in a long time with Serena emerging with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory in two hours, 19 minutes.

Serena got off to a quick start, taking a 2-0 lead before watching Venus reel off five games in a row behind strong returning, breaking Serena twice in that span, and serving as she held with little difficulty to take the opening set.

Venus Williams hits a forehand during her match against sister Serena in Lexington/Photo: Dylan Buell/Getty Images
Venus Williams hits a forehand during her match against sister Serena in Lexington/Photo: Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Venus held steady, saving break points in the fourth game of the second set, but it was Serena who prevailed in a long sixth game that gave her a 4-2 lead. At 5-3 ahead, she took three straight points from 15-30 down to claim the second set.

The back-and-forth contest swung back to Serena early in the final set as she grabbed the break for a 2-1 lead. Venus responded with three games on the trot to take a 4-2 advantage. Serena struck the final blows, breaking back and breaching Venus' serve again at 4-4 before serving out the match.

"I've lost a few tight sets lately, so I was telling myself I really wanted to win this one and focus on the last two games", Serena said after the match. "I'm super relaxed. Having no crowd sort of makes it more relaxing. I've practiced in louder places than this court!"

She said her goal was to get matches in, not necessarily to win.

"I honestly didn't come here to win. For the first time in my career, I came here to win some matches and see what happens. I haven't had this much time off since the baby, so I'm just trying to get some rhythm and see what happens."

Teichmann routs Putintseva; Bellis, Rogers also emerge victorious

Teichmann was up early against Putintseva with a 2-0 lead before the Kazakh struck back to level only to see the Swiss lefty rattle off four games in a row, saving three break points in the seventh game, to take the first set, breaking twice in that run of games.

Putintseva broke for a 2-1 lead in the second set, but a rash of double faults and unforced errors were her undoing as Teichmann took the last five games with the Kazakh double-faulting three times in the last game as the Swiss sealed her first quarterfinal of the year.

Teichmann hits a forehand during her match in Lexington/Photo: Dylan Buell/Getty Images
Teichmann hits a forehand during her match in Lexington/Photo: Dylan Buell/Getty Images

"I know Yulia and I've seen her play even though I never played against  her", Teichmann said. "I know she is a very tough fighter, and I knew it was going to be very physical as well. We both tend to play long points, and it's very humid out there. So I knew that I had to keep calm, and really finding my rhythm between putting intensity and staying calm and being ready for a big fight."

Bellis comfortably moved into the quarterfinals with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Jessica Pegula, exchanging breaks to start the match and winning the last four games while breaking Pegula the final three games she served in.

Rogers took care of Leylah Annie Fernandez 6-2, 7-5 to set up a last eight showdown against Serena. The American broke the Canadian in the first and last games of the opening set and after breaks were traded early in the second, Rogers rallied from 5-3 down to claim victory.

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