Serena routs Craybas in 55 minutes

Updated: March 30, 2004, 9:38 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. -- Serena Williams won the first 10 games and beat Jill Craybas 6-0, 6-1 Tuesday at the Nasdaq-100 Open, the tournament's most lopsided quarterfinal since 1996.

The top-seeded Williams, who returned from an eight-month layoff last week, needed only 55 minutes to advance to Thursday's semifinals. Williams' opponent in the semifinals Thursday will be No. 25-seeded Eleni Daniilidou, who beat Karolina Sprem 6-1, 6-3.

"I feel definitely I'm playing better, more consistent today," said Williams, who finally has onlookers talking about her game rather than her racy outfits. "I was really working on being consistent and getting a lot of balls back."

The Williams sisters remain on course to resume their sibling rivalry in the final Saturday. Venus Williams faces No. 5 Elena Dementieva in the quarterfinals Wednesday.

Craybas, the lone unseeded women's quarterfinalist, drew a big cheer when she finally won a game. The former NCAA champion's breakthrough came on an errant backhand by Serena Williams, who shrieked in reaction to the rare mistake.

Craybas' only other meeting with Williams was a first-round loss at Wimbledon, which was Williams' last tournament before a knee injury -- and some extracurricular activity -- delayed her return.

"I feel maybe she was playing a little bit better at Wimbledon," Craybas said. "It's hard because she hasn't played in eight months. So I'm sure she's a little rusty, but hopefully not that rusty."

Williams smacked five aces and 22 winners. She has won 16 consecutive matches at Key Biscayne, including the finals in 2002 and 2003.

The tournament is Williams' first since knee surgery after winning her sixth Grand Slam title at Wimbledon in July.

Information from The Associated Press and SportsTicker was used in this report.

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