Davenport through to meet Venus

Venus Williams and Lindsay Davenport defeated a pair of Frenchwomen on Friday to set up an intriguing semi-final at the Advanta Championships in Villanova, Pennsylavania.

Venus Williams and Lindsay Davenport defeated a pair of Frenchwomen on Friday to set up an intriguing semi-final at the Advanta Championships in Villanova, Pennsylavania.

Williams, the $520,000 event's No 3 seed, beat Sandrine Testud 6-1, 7-6 (9-7), while second-seeded Davenport dispatched eighth-seeded Julie Halard-Decugis 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 in the first of the day's four quarter-final matches.

On Saturday afternoon, Williams will square off with Davenport, the player she is chasing in the world rankings. With a victory here and a better finish in next week's season-ending Chase Championships in New York, Williams, the world No 3 can move ahead of the No 2 ranked Davenport.

Williams and Davenport have split four career matches with Williams taking the last two.

"I'll have nothing to lose," Williams said. "I just hope to play well, have fun and relax"."

Williams, playing just her second match in three weeks, prevailed in a hard-fought second set, one that concluded with a spectacular tiebreaker. They were tied 7-7 when the unseeded Testud slapped a relatively simple forehand into the net. Williams took the next point easily for her third victory in three meetings with the world's 14th-ranked player.

"That second set was a little exciting. There were some great points," Williams said. "But naturally I would liked to have had it a little easier."

Davenport, her serve not working for much of the match, used her superior groundstrokes to wear down France's Halard-Decugis.

A runner-up in this event the last two years, the second-seeded and normally stoic Davenport grew visibly frustrated by her inability to land her first serves in the opening two sets. She managed to eventually pull away by keeping the Frenchwoman on the run with two-handed backhands and looping forehands deep into the blue Supreme Court's corners.

"She definitely returns very well, especially when's she's facing a lot of second serves like she was in those first two sets," Davenport said.

Both players appeared content to stay on the baselines in the 90-minute match.

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