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Venus strides into quarter-finals despite early scare

Britain Tennis - Wimbledon - All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club, Wimbledon, England - 4/7/16 USA's Venus Williams in action against Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro REUTERS/Tony O'Brien
Britain Tennis - Wimbledon - All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club, Wimbledon, England - 4/7/16 USA's Venus Williams in action against Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro REUTERS/Tony O'Brien

By Clare Lovell

LONDON (Reuters) - The grande dame of women's tennis, Venus Williams, strode to victory against a scampering Carla Suarez Navarro on Monday, beating the Spaniard 7-6(3) 6-4 to reach the Wimbledon quarter-finals.

Williams, with five Wimbledon crowns to her name, used her 20 years of experience on the tour to overcome early sluggishness, a rain break and a busy opponent.

Williams, the oldest woman in the draw at 36, looked out-of-of-sorts when she arrived on Court One and lost the first three games of the contest.

She pulled back to a tiebreak but had to run off court for half an hour because of a rain shower -- a feature of this year's tournament.

"I thought: Oh no not again," eighth seed Williams said. "It was hard... I was dismayed.

"I just tried to stay focused and she gave me a few points and that saw me through."

Williams's nine inch (23 cm) height advantage was also a bonus for the American and she used her big serve, stride and reach to counter Suarez Navarro's speed and whipping top-spin groundstrokes.

The 12th-seeded Spaniard had to go for her shots and they did not come off too often. She put a forehand long to hand Williams the first set.

Williams broke serve twice in the second set and, though she returned the favour herself in the sixth game, Suarez Navarro failed to withstand Williams's serving and big shot barrage in the final game, succumbing to an unreturnable backhand.

(Reporting by Clare Lovell; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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