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  Tuesday, 4 September, 2001, 04:09 GMT 05:09 UK
Champions progress to last eight
Williams now plays Kim Clijsters in the last eight
Williams now plays Kim Clijsters in the last eight
Venus Williams (US) [4] bt Sandrine Testud (Fra) [18] 6-4 6-0
Marat Safin (Rus) [3] bt Thomas Johansson (Swe) [14] 6-2 2-6 6-4 7-6

The US Open's reigning champions, Venus Williams and Marat Safin, both came through their fourth round matches - but in contrasting fashion.

The pair were on Flushing Meadows' main court in the evening slot and Williams used the showpiece to send out a warning to her rivals.

After a slow start in which she fell 4-2 behind to her French opponent Sandrine Testud, Williams stormed back to victory by winning the next 10 games.

But Williams still felt there was room for improvement: "I've been struggling with my serve a bit and my first serve percentage is not good enough at the moment," she said.

The win increases the chances of Williams facing her sister Serena in the final.


It has been so long since I played this well
Marat Safin

"I'm going to have to start watching her matches, taking notes and watching the videos," joked Venus.

Safin, however, was never totally in control of his match against Thomas Johansson.

Despite taking the first set with two breaks of serve, Safin lost the second by the same score, 6-2.

He got his nose back in front with a single break of serve in the third set, and then needed a tie-break to confirm his victory.

"You start to think, 'I'm playing too good to be true', because it has been so long since I played this well," said Safin.

"Then you lose concentration and your self-belief disappears.

"It was good to come back after that horrible second set and win the match," he added.

Williams now faces Belgian Kim Clijsters for a place in the semi-finals, while Safin will play the unseeded Argentine Mariano Zabaleta.

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