Rome wins for Williams sisters
Serena and Venus Williams both reached the quarter-finals of the WTA Rome Masters with straight-sets victories on Thursday.
Having been pushed hard by Nadia Petrova, Serena eased through to the last eight with a 6-3 6-1 triumph over Anabel Medina Garrigues of Spain.
The ninth-seeded American has now won 16 matches on clay in a row, including picking up the title in Madrid last week.
Venus is also coming into form with the French Open looming large on the horizon, upsetting US Open champion and fifth seed Sam Stosur 6-4 6-3. The victory keeps her on target to play in this summer's Olympics in London.
"I wouldn't have come back so soon but I needed the points to get in the Olympics," she said afterwards.
"I probably wouldn't have come back before Wimbledon or maybe even after it. I need to win more but that's great."
Next up for Venus will be Maria Sharapova, the Russian having saved six set points in the first set on her way to a 7-6 6-3 triumph over former French Open champion Ana Ivanovic.
Petra Kvitova, seeded fourth in the tournament, also advanced with a 6-2 5-7 6-2 victory over Sorana Cirstea while China's Li Na and Italian Flavia Pennetta also reached the last eight.
Earlier, women's top seed Victoria Azarenka withdrew from her scheduled last 16 clash with Dominika Cibulkova with a shoulder injury, handing the Slovakian a free passage into the quarter-finals.
Germany's Angelique Kerber beat compatriot Julia Goerges 6-4 6-1.
Quarter-final line-up: Cibulkova v Li Na; Pennetta v Serena Williams; Kerber v Kvitova; Venus Williams v Sharapova.