Venus Williams defeated fifth-seeded Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia 6-4, 6-0 on Thursday to reach the semifinals 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 1 hour, 25 minutes at the hard court tournament in southern Brazil.

Williams faced nine break points to the 52nd-ranked Rybarikova but was broken only twice in the game.

Williams will next face Olga Puchkova of Russia, who cruised past Jana Cepelova of Slovakia 6-1, 6-1 despite eight double faults.

Earlier, seventh-seeded Kristina Mladenovic of France got past Melinda Czink of Hungary 6-4, 6-3 to set up the other semifinal against Monica Niculescu of Romania.

The 58th-ranked Mladenovic, yet to lose a set, broke Czink’s serve four times and saved eight break points to win the match.

Czink had eliminated second-seeded Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan in the first round and crowd-favorite Bia Haddad Maia in the second.AP