Djokovic beats Verdasco to reach Beijing quartersSerena Williams of U.S. returns a shot to Maria Kirilenko of Russia during the China Open tennis tournament at the National Tennis Stadium in Beijing, China Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
BEIJING (AP) -- Top-ranked Serena Williams fought off three set points and rallied to beat Russian Maria Kirilenko 7-5, 7-5 Thursday to advance to the quarterfinals of the China Open.
Williams won her 70th match of the year and improved to 8-0 against Kirilenko.
The unseeded Russian made Williams work for the win. She broke Williams to take a 5-4 lead in the first set, then held three set points on her serve before Williams recovered to take the set. Kirilenko also broke Williams in the second set and took a 4-2 lead before faltering down the stretch.
''I just thought, what else can I do except fight for this point and the next point,''' Williams said about fending off the three set points. ''Maybe I got lucky a little bit - I just started to relax and kind of swing and not think about it too much out there. I'm obviously just really happy to get through this match today.''
Williams next plays the winner of the match between sixth-seeded Caroline Wozniacki and 11th-seeded Sloane Stephens. Stephens defeated Williams in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open - one of only four losses for Williams this year.
In other matches, Serbian Jelena Jankovic routed Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro 6-0, 6-0.
It was only the third ''double bagel'' of Jankovic's career, the last one coming against another Spaniard, Virginia Ruano Pascual, in Beijing in 2007.
On the men's side, American Sam Querrey upset sixth-seeded Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland 6-3, 7-6 (2).