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Venus ousted as Europeans dominate
January 23, 2008 10:33 IST
Last Updated: January 23, 2008 13:15 IST
Europe tightened its stranglehold on the Australian Open when America's sole survivor in the women's singles, Venus Williams [Images], was blasted out of the quarter-finals on Wednesday.
Venus went the way of sister Serena, battered by a Serb baseliner, losing 7-6, 6-4 to fourth seed Ana Ivanovic.
"She played well and hit a lot of good shots... so I give her a lot of credit," the Wimbledon champion said. "I have nobody to blame but myself."
Ivanovic will meet Daniela Hantuchova [Images] in the semis after the Slovak pummelled Pole Agnieszka Radwanska 6-2, 6-2.
Men's third seed Novak Djokovic made it a super Wednesday for Serbia when he beat Spain's David Ferrer 6-0, 6-3, 7-5 to seal a spot in the last four.
"This is just a start, hopefully I can go all the way. I have to start believing in myself a bit more," an elated Djokovic said.
It may take more than self-belief. Wednesday night's session will decide Djokovic's opponent when James Blake, America's remaining man, plays defending champion and world number one Roger Federer [Images].
Venus had been looking to avenge Serena's quarter-final loss to Serb Jelena Jankovic, but the result was the same as she floundered on a sun-drenched centre court.
The American simply committed too many errors and allowed her 20-year-old opponent to dominate from the baseline.
Ivanovic grabbed her opportunity with both hands.
"It's amazing, it was an amazing match and I'm just so thrilled to be through," Ivanovic beamed in a courtside interview.
"We had a lot of really long points and [Venus] is an amazing competitor."
Venus and Ivanovic took to court after a double-quick opening match between Hantuchova and Radwanska.
Hantuchova, a former quarter-finalist at Wimbledon, the US Open and Melbourne Park, made the final four of Grand Slam for the first time with a 6-2, 6-2 victory.
"I think I realised that it's okay to make mistakes and it's okay to not always play my best tennis," the 24-year-old told reporters.
"I always wanted to have everything perfect. I just realised that things are not always going to go your way, and sometimes you have to work for them."
Things certainly went her way against Radwanska.
Hantuchova used her experience to run the 18-year-old around the court, forcing her deep behind the baseline.
"I felt like I had a great opportunity to win this match, but I still had to go out there and play my best, which I think I did at times," Hantuchova said.
Djokovic survived a late bout of nerves to oust fifth seed Ferrer.
The Serbian missed four match points and was broken when serving for victory but recovered to set up a semi-final against Federer or Blake.
"I even surprised myself the way I played, especially in the first two sets," Djokovic said. "In the end, I was very very nervous, there's no excuse for that, and I was behaving really really badly.
"We all fight to win and sometimes on the court you cannot control your emotions, but I am really happy to be through. It's an amazing feeling."