Tennis - Venus topples birthday girl Azarenka

Tennis - Venus topples birthday girl Azarenka
STANFORD, CA - JULY 31: A general view as Venus Williams of the Unites States of America plays against Victoria Azarenka of Belarus during Day 4 of the Bank of the West Classic at the Taube Family Tennis Stadiumon July 31, 2014 in Stanford, California. Noah Graham/Getty Images/AFP (AFP Photo/Noah Graham)

- Seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams ousted fourth-seeded birthday girl Victoria Azarenka in straight sets Thursday to reach the quarter-finals of the WTA hardcourt tournament at Stanford.

The 6-4, 7-6 (7/1) triumph kept Williams on course for a possible semi-final showdown with her sister Serena, the world number one and top seed who will take on Ana Ivanovic in the quarter-finals on Friday.

"Williams-Williams tomorrow, hopefully," Venus told the crowd at the campus of Stanford University, where she came out on top in a hard-fought, physical duel with Azarenka that lasted an hour and 42 minutes.

"It's never easy to play Victoria. We've always had extremely tough matches, so I expected that tonight as well," said Williams.