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Photo Credit: Costantini/Internazionali BNL D'

(May 15, 2010) Venus Williams will stand second to sister Serena when the new WTA Tour world rankings are released on Monday. Today, Venus played peerless tennis in powering into her fourth final of the season.

The seven-time Grand Slam champion crushed unseeded Shahar Peer,
6-3, 6-0, to advance to the Mutua Madrilena Madrid Open final.

Venus and Serena, who beat Peer and
Francesca Schiavone in Friday's doubles semifinal, will join forces to play Gisela Dulko and Flavia Pennetta in today's doubles final.


Williams raised her clay-court record to 12-1 on the season and is seeking her third tournament title of the season after winning Dubai on hard court and Acapulco on red clay. The French Open begins on May 23rd and Venus, the 2002 Roland Garros runner-up to Serena, is aiming for success in Paris.

"Obviously the ultimate is to win the French, and I've come close," Williams said. "I think I've won every other tournament on clay, so I'd like to take it one more step."

The fourth-seeded Venus will play unseeded Aravane Rezai in Sunday's singles final. Rezai held a 6-1 lead over Lucie Safarova when the Czech left-hander was forced to retire with a strained hamstring.

Rezai beat four-time French open champion Justine Henin in the opening round and topped seventh-seeded Serbian Jelena Jankovic in Friday's quarterfinals.

"I know my game and I know I can go far," Rezai said. "I think I merit my place and if I am here today it's because I work hard like everyone."

The 24th-ranked French woman and Williams have split two career meetings, both coming on clay in 2007, with Williams winning 6-1, 6-2 in Amelia Island and Rezai scoring a 6-4, 6-4 victory in Istanbul.

Though Safarova, who beat the returning Maria Sharapova in the opening round, was forced to pull the plug on the semifinal, she is hopeful she will recover in time for Roland Garros.

"I hope to get better in a couple of days and start to prepare for the French Open and continue playing as well there," Safarova said.


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