Venus fights back to reach Taiwan semis

Taipei (AFP) –


Venus Williams fought back from a slow start against Latvian world number 103 Anastasija Sevastova to reach the Taiwan Open semi-finals 7-5, 6-2 on Friday.

The seven-time Grand Slam-winner was struggling at 2-5 down in the first set, but she then won five straight games and fended off two set points before accelerating to victory.

Top seed Williams, 35, will play Yulia Putintseva in her first semi-final of 2016 after the Kazakh third seed went through courtesy of a retirement by Switzerland's Stefanie Voegele.

"I didn't think about the set points, I just tried to not lose the set," said Williams, the world number 12, according to the WTA website.

"But she was playing really well and was very determined so it wasn't easy to play her. From there, I think the experience really helped me and there was a lot of pressure on her.

"I just tried to do whatever was winning! If it's not working you change it -- so that's the strategy."

Taiwanese sixth seed Hsieh Su-wei beat Russia's Elizaveta Kulichkova 6-0, 6-2 to set up a semi-final with Misaki Doi, who had a walkover against fellow Japanese Kurumi Nara.