Venus Williams into quarterfinals at ASB Classic
Venus Williams has advanced to the quarterfinals at the ASB Classic, but needed three sets to beat Austrian journey woman, Yvonne Meusburger.
The seven-time Grand Slam winner won the match 4-6 6-3 6-2 in one hour 53 minutes in a rain-interrupted contest and this is just the second time since April she has reached the last eight of a tournament.
As in her first round win over Andrea Hlavackova, this was an error strewn performance from Williams, but at the age of 33 and with so much experience behind her, she knows how to battle it out and get the required result.
There was something of a false start to this match with the players heading off court at 3.24pm at one game all in the opening set. Half an hour later they were back, but Williams struggled to get her serve going on the resumption.
She was broken twice and was unable to get the domination she needs with that big first serve.
The set ended with Meusburger sending down an ace into the corner that Williams had no chance of getting to.
In the second set though Williams was back into her groove. Anything Meusburger dropped short the American was straight onto, ripping a winner that Meusburger had no chance of reaching.
Williams got two breaks of serve against Meusburger in the final set and from there Williams just had to go through the motions to take the match.
Earlier in the day there few dramas for the two seeds who graced centre court.
Belgium's Kirsten Flipkens beat Karolina Pliskova 6-4 6-3 to advance to the last eight.
Flipkens had a 5-0 lead in the first set, but had trouble closing it out as Pliskova won four straight games.
The Belgian had three break points in the next game as the Czech fell behind 0-40 on her serve. She managed to save two of them, but on the third was dreadfully unlucky as a crosscourt backhand clipped the net cord and went out.
The second set was a less eventful one, with Flipkens getting a break in the fifth game and it was a lead she never looked like losing.
Flipkins is one of the more striking players in the women's game, her sunglasses and bandana make her stand out from others. She says the sunglasses are prescription ones, but she still plays with tinted glasses in night matches.
"If I don't play with them I wouldn't see the ball clearly," she said.
"It's already the sixth or seventh year with them, so I'm getting quite used to it. I can't stand lenses, I have to play with glasses, I don't have a choice."
Fifth seed Jamie Hampton also progressed to the quarterfinals in straight sets, beating the other Pliskova twin, Kristyna, 6-3 6-4.
Hampton is the only seed left in the top half of the draw and because of that she sees herself with a great opportunity in front of her.
"The top half of the draw has fallen apart, but also you've got the unseeded Venus Williams which is a bit of a tough one," she said.
Hampton is the third highest ranked American player, at 28 in the world, behind Serena Williams and Sloane Stephens. But she doesn't get anywhere near the amount of coverage from her country's media that either of the Williams sisters have.
"It's OK. It has its advantages," Hampton said of her anonymity.
"No one really know who I am so I can float under the radar a bit, but I'd like some exposure.
"Maybe not that much, but it comes with the territory. If I do well I'll get more exposure and I'll have to embrace it.
There was an exciting match on court four, with the promising Spaniard Garbine Muguruza defeating Canadian qualifier Sharon Fichman 1-6 6-3 6-3.
She will play Williams tomorrow in what promises to be an intriguing quarterfinal.
They went up against each other in Brazil last year, with Williams winning it 7-5 in the third set.
Kurumi Nara (JPN) def Ayumi Morita (JPN) 6-0 6-1
 Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) def Karolina Pliskova (CZE) 6-4 6-3
 Jamie Hampton (USA) def [Q] Kristyna Pliskova (CZE) 6-3 6-4
Garbine Muguruza (ESP) def [Q] Sharon Fichman (CAN) 1-6 6-3 6-3
Venus Williams (USA) def Yvonne Meusburger (AUT) 4-6 6-3 6-2
 Mona Barthel (GER)/ Megan Moulton-Levy (USA) def Chin-Wei Chan (TPE)/ Yi-Fan Xu (CHN) 6-1 7-5