Williams tested often in straight-sets victory

Updated: April 13, 2007, 9:23 PM ET
Associated Press

CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Venus Williams won a match of long baseline rallies Friday, defeating tenacious Anabel Medina Garrigues of Spain 6-4, 7-5 to reach the Family Circle Cup semifinals.

Williams, unseeded and ranked No. 29, had lost only 10 games combined in her three other matches this week. This time, she lost nine.

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"I guess I didn't expect it to be as tough," Williams said.

Williams, who lost in the quarterfinals at Amelia Island last week, will face second-seeded Jelena Jankovic of Serbia on Saturday. Jankovic, ranked No. 9, routed Slovenia's Katrina Srebotnik, 6-2, 6-0.

Williams was playing Medina Garrigues for the first time. She fell behind 0-3 in the second set before winning five of the next six games to climb back and avoid a third set.

"I just felt my feet weren't moving as much and I wasn't as dedicated to hitting as many balls as I needed to," Williams said. "I just felt like I'm not losing this set but 'Come on V, get with it."'

Jankovic beat Williams last year at Wimbledon in their last meeting.

"She has one of the best serves in the game; she moves well," Jankovic said. "When she moves well it's hard to beat her. I just really want to play my game. I don't want to focus on her. I want to focus on myself."

The other semifinal will be an all-Russian affair.

Ninth-seeded Vera Zvonareva defeated Michaella Krajicek of the Netherlands 6-1, 7-5. Zvonareva, ranked No. 20, will face Dinara Safina. Safina advanced when Tatiana Golovin retired at the end of the first set because of an ankle injury.

Golovin won her first tour title last week on the clay at Amelia Island.

"I've played eight matches in nine days and definitely my body was starting to feel it," she said.

Both Zvonareva and Safina withdrew from their late doubles matches Friday because of sore wrists.

"I think if I tried to play my doubles, I wouldn't be able to come back on the court for sure tomorrow," said Zvonareva, who said she noticed a tingling in her wrist earlier this week.

Safina said she injured her wrist in a match Thursday and, while it seemed better Friday, didn't want to take a chance on playing more tennis before her semifinal.

Williams, playing in her fourth tournament after being sidelined by a wrist injury this year, won the Family Circle in her first appearance three years ago.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press