Williams makes progress by default

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Venus Williams had to endure a waterlogged indoor court before overcoming the injured Italian Silvia Farina Elia in the quarter-finals of the Antwerp Open yesterday.

The fifth seed, Farina Elia was trailing 6-3, 0-1 when she was forced to retire with a strained calf muscle.

Earlier, the Wimbledon and US Open champion Williams was delayed by half an hour in her bid to reach the semi-finals after freezing temperatures overnight caused heavy condensation in the indoor arena. The American will today face the winner of the match between Amelie Mauresmo of France and Daja Bedanova of the Czech Republic.

Williams got off to a shaky start as she double-faulted in her opening service and followed up with numerous unforced errors to hand Farina Elia four break points. The powerful American rallied to take the game and dominated the match before her opponent suffered the injury. "When you have pain, it's usually best to stop," Williams said, referring to the Italian's injury. "When you play a lot of tournaments your body says no but your mind says yes."

The defending champion Yevgeny Kafelnikov advanced to the semi-finals of the Open 13 tournament in Marseilles yesterday with a 6-3, 7-6 win over the three-times champion Marc Rosset.

Rosset had the measure of Kafelnikov in previous encounters, beating the Russian 10 times in their 14 previous matches. On Thursday, Rosset upset the eighth seed Hicham Arazi of Morocco, 7-5, 6-2.