Venus Williams takes on Sam Stosur this afternoon in the quarter-finals of the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati (18:00 BST start).
Williams has looked strong in Cincinnati this week and looks like a title contender. The American has endured a very difficult few years and there are few who wouldn’t want to see her lift the trophy at the end of the week.
Venus' gradual improvements upon her return are becoming increasingly hard to ignore. She was in dominant form yesterday, breezing past seventh seed Sara Errani in straight sets, 6-3 6-0. She’ll now compete in a Premier tier event for the fourth time since she made her comeback seven months ago.
Confidence appears to be high in the Williams camp and speaking after her third round win, she told reporters: "I've beaten two seeds here now, players who are having exceptional years and are confident.
"For me to be in this tournament and getting wins over both of those players feels really good. I want to continue this in my next match tomorrow."
She added: "Before all my injuries and illnesses I was No.2 in the world and Serena was No.1, and we were No.1 in doubles. We were literally on top of the world until a lot of things came crashing down on us.
"I'd like to work my way back. Of course that's a dream for me. I dream of those things. That's why I'm here, because I feel like I still have it. It's one match at a time, pretty much."
Venus will be aware that she’s anything but guaranteed a place in the final four, as she’ll have to defy third seed Sam Stosur today in order to progress. Stosur also produced her A-game on Thursday as she thrashed Ekaterina Makarova 6-1 6-3.
Head-to-head history is in Venus’ favour ahead of this contest, as the American leads Stosur 5-1. More importantly though, the pairing have a 1-1 mark for 2012.
Based on this, it’s evident that Williams still has what it takes to beat a player of Stosur’s calibre. Still, it doesn’t really look like either player is an obvious favourite, and Stosur, as the defending US Open champ, is anything but weak on this kind of surface.
Prediction: Stosur in three.