Laura Robson will look to set up a Williams sisters clean sweep in Rome after she defeated Venus in straight sets to set up a clash with Serena.
It was a terrific win for Robson, breaking WIliams’ serve six time to run out 6-3 6-2 victor, but the seven-time Grand Slam winner was nowhere close to her best.
It was the first time Robson had faced Venus during he career and, while she will be thankful for such a straightforward win, it will have been troubling to see one of her childhood idols struggle so badly.
Robson was only broken twice in a game that was badly affected by wind, with both players ball tosses verging on a lottery as to whether they were comfortable.
The 32-year-old is a seasoned campaigner now but she could not match the smart play of Robson on a day that was made very tough by the conditions.
Venus has been suffering from a back problem that restricted her to only four tournaments so far this season, which the British number one exploited well.
Serena is in no such difficulties, however, and will pose Robson with her toughest test for a long time in the second round on Tuesday.
The 19-year-old Brit can take heart from the fact that she has broken her duck against the world’s top five this season and is rocketing up the rankings.