Jankovic shuts out Venus to reach semis

Jelena Jankovic destroyed the prospect of an all-Williams semi-final at the Italian Open by blitzing Venus 6-0, 6-1 in Rome last night.

The 25-year-old Serb, ranked seventh in the world, barely gave her opponent a look-in en route to a comprehensive victory and will next face her younger sister on the Italian clay.

The world No 1 Serena Williams, competing in her first WTA tournament since winning January's Australian Open, earlier continued her comeback from a knee injury with a routine 6-1, 6-4 triumph over Russia's Maria Kirilenko.

The second semi-final will be between Ana Ivanovic and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez, who both upset seeded opponents in Rome today.

Ivanovic, herself a former world No 1, showed signs of getting back to her best in a 6-2, 7-5 victory over the 14th seed Nadia Petrova of Russia. "I've been feeling really good on court for a couple of weeks now and I really felt it could happen any week," said the 22-year-old Serb. "I just needed to get some more momentum and start playing matches because that is what I have been lacking for so long.

"I am so happy that I came here, because last week it just was not happening. To have these wins here means a lot. For a long time I think that this is the best for me, and obviously winning against top players gives you confidence.

"My serve has been a big issue for me for over the past year and a half, two years, and now obviously it helps me in my game, and puts less stress on other parts of my game because I feel more confident that I can hold my serves."