FLORIANOPOLIS, Brazil- Venus Williams defeated fifth-seeded Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia 6-4 6-0 on Thursday to reach the semi-finals of the Brazil Tennis Cup.
The top-seeded American broke Rybarikova's serve at 5-4 to win the first set and quickly took control of the second to clinch the victory in an hour and 25 minutes at the hardcourt tournament in southern Brazil.
She faced nine break points to the 52nd-ranked Rybarikova but was broken only twice.
The 20th-ranked Williams is playing her first tournament since losing to Maria Sharapova in the Australian Open third round in January.
Williams will next face Russian Olga Puchkova, who cruised past Jana Cepelova of Slovakia 6-1 6-1 despite eight double faults.
The 109th-ranked Puchkova, who upset third-seeded Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium in the first round, will be trying to reach her first final since 2006.
Earlier, seventh-seeded Kristina Mladenovic of France defeated Melinda Czink to set up the other semi-final against Monica Niculescu.