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Venus Williams faces Bulgarian nemesis in last 16 at Wimbledon

A disappointed Vera Zvonareva, left, shakes hands with Tsvetana Pironkova after losing to the Bulgarian 32nd seed.
A disappointed Vera Zvonareva, left, shakes hands with Tsvetana Pironkova after losing to the Bulgarian 32nd seed.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams through to the fourth round
  • American will face Tsvetana Pironkova, who eliminated world No. 2 Vera Zvonareva
  • Pironkova beat Williams last year before losing to Russia's Zvonareva in semifinals
  • No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki and 2004 champion Maria Sharapova win second-round matches

(CNN) -- Venus Williams will have the chance to avenge last year's shock Wimbledon defeat by Tsvetana Pironkova after the Bulgarian pulled off another upset victory to reach the fourth round in London on Friday.

Pironkova earned her own revenge as she knocked out second seed Vera Zvonareva, who beat her in the 2010 semifinals before losing to Serena Williams in the title match.

Venus, a five-time winner of the English grass-court grand slam, had few problems in continuing her winning form in just her second tournament since January as she crushed Spain's Maria Jose Martinez 6-0 6-2.

Rain late in the day meant that her sister Serena was unable to start her third-round match against Russian 26th seed Maria Kirilenko, which will be played on Saturday.

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Venus was relieved not to repeat her hard-fought win over Japanese veteran Kimiko Date-Krumm in the previous round.

"Today I played a similar player -- thankfully I was able to get through a bit easier today. I was able to take her volley away, which felt great," the 31-year-old told reporters.

"I'm feeling great and now I've got a couple of days off to get things in order."

The American will next take on a player who has risen to 33rd in the rankings, despite this being her first appearance past the second round of a grand slam since that semi last year. She also beat Williams at the 2006 Australian Open.

The 23-year-old Pironkova won through in straight sets, beating world No. 3 Zvonareva 6-2 6-3 to end the Russian's hopes of landing a first major title.

Zvonareva slipped in the fourth game and had her ankle strapped after losing the first set, and capitulated after having more treatment at 3-2 down in the second.

Fourth seed Victoria Azarenka of Belarus also progressed into the last 16 as she beat Slovakia's No. 25 Daniela Hantuchova 6-3 3-6 6-2.

The 21-year-old will next face Russia's two-time quarterfinalist Nadia Petrova, who eliminated Ukraine's Kateryna Bondarenko 6-3 6-2.

Eighth seed Petra Kvitova ended the run of Italy's No. 29 Roberta Vinci, with the Czech winning 6-3 6-3 to set up a clash with Belgium's Yanina Wickmayer.

Wickmayer, seeded 19th, came from behind to defeat Russia's two-time grand slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova 4-6 6-3 6-4.

German 11th seed Andrea Petkovic crashed out, losing 6-4 7-6 (7-2) to Russian debutant Ksenia Pervak. The 20-year-old earned a clash with either Italian sixth seed Francesca Schiavone or Austria's world No. 80 Tamira Paszek.

French Open runner-up Schiavone was battling to stay in the tournament as she trailed 6-3 4-6 2-3 when rain halted.

In second-round matches, world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki kept alive her hopes of a first grand slam title as the Dane dispatched unseeded French player Virginie Razzano 6-1 6-3 in a second-round match.

The 20-year-old will next play Australia's 27th seed Jarmila Gajdosova, who reached the fourth round last year.

Fifth seed Maria Sharapova also moved into round three, beating British 17-year-old Laura Robson 7-6 (7-4) 6-3.

The Russian, champion as a 17-year-old herself in 2004, will next play Czech world No. 35 Klara Zakopalova as she seeks to build on the form that took her to the French Open semifinals earlier this month.

Marion Bartoli, the 2007 runner-up, came from behind to beat Spain's Lourdes Dominguez Lion 4-6 7-5 6-2 to earn a third-round clash with Italy's Flavia Pennetta.

Peng Shuai is the only Chinese player left in the draw following French Open champion Li Na's exit on Thursday, with the 20th seed moving into the third round with a battling 4-6 6-2 7-5 win over Britain's Elena Baltacha.

The 25-year-old will seek to reach the last 16 for the first time as she takes on Hungary's Melinda Czink.

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