Sat, Aug 04, 2007 - Page 20 News List

Venus moves into last eight at Acura

CLASSIC WIN While Venus Williams overpowered her Slovak opponent for the ninth time, Maria Kirilenko earned the biggest victory of her career in Carlsbad

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Venus Williams reaches out for a backhand shot during her match against Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia at the Acura Classic on Thursday in Carlsbad, California.

PHOTO: AP

Venus Williams defeated Daniela Hantuchova again on Thursday night, eliminating the No. 6 seed from the Acura Classic with a 6-0, 6-3 victory.

Williams, seeded 10th, beat Hantuchova for the ninth time without a loss. The reigning Wimbledon champion, who won this event from 2000-2002, moved into the last eight, where she will meet Russia's Anna Chakvetadze.

Earlier, Maria Kirilenko earned the biggest victory of her career with a 6-2, 3-6, 7-5 win over No. 3 ranked Jelena Jankovic.

Kirilenko's victory moved five Russian players into yesterday's quarter-finals, including No. 1 seed Maria Sharapova. The defending tournament champion advanced with a 6-0, 6-3 win over No. 13 Tatiana Golovin of France.

"I just played the tougher points well," Sharapova said. "I thought I did a really good job of concentrating. I thought I played smart. I thought I played aggressive."

Kirilenko, unseeded and ranked 42nd in the world, needed three match points in the third set to finish off Jankovic, the No. 2 seed. Kirilenko, 20, beat a top-10 player for the just the third time in her career, but this was her first victory against Jankovic.

"I think Maria played really well, one of her best matches," Jankovic said of Kirilenko. "I was struggling the whole match. I had a cold. I had my chances. The chances were there, but I didn't do the right thing."

Kirilenko credited her aggressive play for the victory.

"With [top players], if you play passive, it doesn't work," Kirilenko said. "I tried to be more aggressive and it helped me."

Kirilenko said she had extra motivation to win the match. Her coach promised to buy her a Labrador retriever if she pulled out a victory.

"At the end of the match I started to think about it," Kirilenko said as she laughed. "I was thinking, `Match point, and the dog is mine.'"

Roddick and Safin survive scares

Former world No. 1s Andy Roddick and Marat Safin overcame tight three-set struggles to advance on Thursday to the quarter-finals of the Legg Mason Tennis Classic, a warm-up ahead of the US Open.

Roddick saved three break points in the final set to beat Radek Stepanek 6-3, 1-6, 7-5, while Safin finally got the better of Robin Haase of the Netherlands 7-5, 6-7 (2), 7-5.

Roddick was tested all night by the 15th seeded Czech, who had 20 aces and didn't face a break point in the final set until the last point of the match.

"A lot of times when someone else is serving like that, you don't have a lot of choice in the matter," Roddick said. "What I did tonight was just hang around long enough where something good might happen. He was really getting through his service games without me being able to get into him."

Roddick was to face No. 5 Lee Hyung-taik, who beat Julien Benneteau 2-6, 6-2, 6-3, in yesterday's quarter-final.

Second-seeded Tommy Haas had considerably less trouble earning his spot in the quarter-finals, beating No. 16 Michael Russell 6-3, 6-4.

Haas, playing in his first tournament since Wimbledon, where he withdrew with a torn abdominal muscle, jumped out early leads in both sets, finished with 10 aces and never faced a break point.

Up next for Haas is upstart US player John Isner, who beat Wayne Odesnik 6-7 (4), 7-6 (3), 7-6 (2). It was the third straight day Isner, playing in just his second ATP tour event, won a third-set tiebreaker.

France's Gael Monfils outlasted Michael Berrer 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-3 to also book a spot in the quarter-finals, where he will meet Safin.

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