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Venus, Serena through to quarters

STANFORD, July 31 – Venus Williams booked a date in the WTA Bank of the West quarter-finals with Russian star Maria Sharapova by matching top-seeded sister Serena with a straight-set triumph on Thursday.VENUSSecond-seeded Venus defeated Russia’s Alla Kudryavtseva 6-1, 7-5 while Serena fired 10 aces to oust Hungary’s Melinda Czink 6-3, 7-6 (9/7) in second-round matches at the 700,000-dollar hardcourt tournament.

Sharapova is 3-2 lifetime against Venus, winning most recently at Miami in 2007. Venus took her only wins over Sharapova at Wimbledon in 2005 and 2007.

"My key is to execute my game as best I can," Venus Williams said. "There’s no secret to that. I feel like it will be a good matchup for me. I always enjoy playing against Maria."

Venus Williams, whose seven Grand Slam titles include five Wimbledon crowns, faces three-time Slam winner Sharapova as the Russian beauty queen is on the rebound from right shoulder surgery.

"I’m excited," Sharapova said. "I love playing against her and it has been a while. It’s great to come back and have the chance to play against a great player like Venus, who is at the top of her game right now."

Serena Williams, an 11-time Grand Slam champion who won the Australian Open and Wimbledon crowns this year, has won nine matches in a row and 13 of her past 14. She will face Aussie Samantha Stosur in another quarter-final Friday.

"It should be a good match," Serena Williams said. "She has improved tons – leaps and bounds. I’ve been a little bit off this whole week. I hope I can get back on."

French eighth seed Marion Bartoli eliminated Amerrican Melanie Oudin 7-5, 6-4 and will next face Serbian fourth seed Jelena Jankovic, who rallied to defeat Germany’s Sabine Lisicki 2-6, 6-2, 6-4.

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