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Jankovic, Williams sisters in quarters at Stanford

SERBIA'S Jelena Jankovic rallied to beat Germany's Sabine Lisicki 2-6, 6-2, 6-4 to reach the quarterfinals of the Bank of the West Classic yesterday.

Jankovic, seeded fourth and ranked No. 6, joins Serena and Venus Williams in the final eight, giving the Stanford event one of its most prestigious quarterfinal matchups.

Wimbledon champion Serena Williams advanced after beating Hungary's Melinda Czink 6-3, 7-6 (7) and Venus Williams got by qualifier Alla Kudryavtseva, 6-3, 7-5, setting up an evening showdown with former world No. 1 Maria Sharapova, who continues her comeback from right shoulder surgery.

Eighth-seeded Marion Bartoli of France advanced with a 7-5, 6-4 victory over qualifier Melanie Oudin of the United States and will meet Jankovic.

"There should be a lot of good tennis," Bartoli said. "I always beat Jankovic so who do you think I want to play?"

Jankovic was less than impressed with Bartoli's comments.

"She talks like she's Serena Williams," Jankovic said. "Who is she? She's just another player on the tour."

As for her match Thursday, Jankovic had a difficult time in the first set adjusting to the fading light.

"It took me awhile to adjust to the shadows," she said. "I haven't played at night for a while and it was tough to see where the ball was going at times. I felt rusty out there. I need the matches; I need to compete."

Lisicki had seven aces but also committed 11 double faults and managed to put her first serve in play about half the time.

"My philosophy is the more tennis I play the better I play," Jankovic said.

Serena Williams, seeded first and ranked No. 2, has won nine straight matches and 13 of 14 overall. She next plays Australia's Samantha Stosur.

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

Williams finished with 10 aces Thursday and brushed past her opponent in the first set. Czink, a left-hander, played a stronger second set in forcing Williams to a tiebreaker in a match that lasted nearly two hours.

"She served well, toward the end especially," Williams said. "I could have returned better, but it was still good practice."

Williams adjusted to a shorter toss on her serve at the beginning of the match because of a bright noon sun.

"It only affected four or five games but those games could be crucial," Williams said. "I made some key errors so it was good I ended up winning."

Venus Williams, seeded second and ranked No. 3, joined her younger sister in the quarterfinals, needing just over an hour to get by Kudryavtseva.

"I'm excited. I love playing against her and it's been a while," Sharapova said Wednesday. "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."

Sharapova has won three of the five previous meetings, the last a three-set win in 2007 at Miami. Williams' only two wins have come at Wimbledon in 2005 and 2007.

"My key is to execute my game as best I can," 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."


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