Shahar Peer
Shahar Peer Photo by Reuters
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Shahar Peer progressed smoothly to the quarterfinal of the French Open in Paris yesterday, setting up a quarterfinal showdown with World No. 1 Serena Williams.

Peer overcame hometown favorite Marion Bertoli, and the partisan Parisian crowd, in straight sets - hitting 33 winners on her way to a 7-6 (9-7 ), 6-2 victory.

Not only does the victory guarantee that Peer will be in the Top 15 when the next WTA rankings are published, it also ensured that she takes home at least 70,000 euros from the Roland Garros tournament.

Williams, meanwhile, pulled through with the aid of a doctor; the top-seed woman shrugged off a funny turn midway through her third-round match against Russian teenager Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova before recovering her senses to win 6-1 1-6 6-2 and join sister Venus in the last 16.

At one stage, however, Pavlyuchenkova looked the more likely winner of the day's opening match on Phillipe Chatrier court. Williams lost her opening service game of the morning to the 18-year-old but rattled off the next six. The 28-year-old, shooting for a 13th grand slam singles title, then slumped 5-0 down in the second set and called for the trainer and the doctor at the changeover.

After having her pulse taken and her temperature checked she emerged rather gingerly before losing the set. She resisted some aggressive play early in the third and saved two break points before regaining control, clinching victory in one hour 48 minutes.

By reaching the fourth round Serena is guaranteed holding the world No. 1 ranking from Venus, whatever happens in the rest of the tournament.

Roddick trounced, Nadal victorious

American Roddick was trounced in straight sets by Teimuraz Gabashvili - his misfiring game no match for the flashy Russian or the cool, breezy conditions that returned to Roland Garros after the glorious sunshine of Frantic Friday.

Rafael Nadal broke down some typically stiff resistance from Australian Lleyton Hewitt to record a 6-3 6-4 6-3 victory in their third-round clash yesterday. Hewitt, who must be sick of the sight of the Mallorcan here after now losing to him in four of the last seven years, rocked the Spaniard by breaking in the opening game, but Nadal hit back immediately and gradually cranked up the pressure.

Hewitt stood toe-to-toe with Nadal in some spellbinding baseline rallies, at one point prompting a forehand winner from the Spaniard which saw him roll over on his back into the red Parisian clay after executing the shot.

The end came after two hours and 28 minutes when Hewitt pelted a backhand long.