• Toray Pan Pacific Open

Venus fights back to extend Tokyo run

ESPN staff
September 25, 2013
Venus Williams knocked out top seed Victoria Azarenka in the second round in Tokyo © AP

Venus Williams recovered from a set and a break down against Simona Halep to reach the quarter-finals of the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo.

The seven-time grand slam champion, who knocked out top seed Victoria Azarenka in the second round, said she was as surprised as anyone after turning the match on its head midway through the second set.

"I don't know how I was able to win that match," Williams said after beating Halep 4-6 7-5 6-3. "She played unbelievable. I've never seen her hit the ball that hard.

"It came down to who was more determined, who would fight harder and believe more. I'm glad that person was me."

Halep's four-trophy haul this season puts her second only to Serena Williams, but the world No. 1's elder sister had the measure of the 13th seed in Tokyo and insisted she had no intention of retiring any time soon.

"The motivation for me now is knowing my luck's got to change," said Williams, who was diagnosed with energy-sapping Sjogren's syndrome in 2011.

"My body's got to co-operate at some point. What am I going to do anyway - watch TV? That's just lazy, and Serena wouldn't let me quit. She'd be like, 'You're playing doubles!' I'd be, 'Okay.'

"I perhaps don't have the health of the other players but physically I'm always trying to get an edge."

Up next for Williams is Canadian teenager Eugenie Bouchard, who upset sixth seed Jelena Jankovic 7-5 6-2 as the rain lashed down on the roof of the Ariake Coliseum. Samantha Stosur was another seed to fall before the last eight, beaten 6-4 6-4 by Lucie Safarova.

Former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki, a winner in Tokyo three years ago, breezed into the last-eight with a 6-1 6-1 demolition of Magdalena Rybarikova, while second seed Agnieszka Radwanska saw off Dominika Cibulkova 6-3 6-4.

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