Thu, Oct 04, 2007 - Page 20 News List

Venus Williams, David Ferrer advance in Tokyo

AFP , TOKYO

David Ferrer of Spain plays a shot to Wesley Moodie of South Africa in their Japan Open tennis championships in Tokyo yesterday.

PHOTO: REUTERS

Top seed Venus Williams barely worked up a sweat while India's Sania Mirza struggled, but both women yesterday booked their spots in the quarter-finals of the Japan Open.

In the men's draw, top seed David Ferrer -- looking to secure his spot in the season-ending Masters Cup in Shanghai -- ousted 2005 Japan Open champion Wesley Moodie of South Africa, 7-6 (7/5), 6-2, moving on to the third round.

Williams, the reigning Wimbledon champion and world No. 8, had no trouble with fellow US player Vania King, cruising to a 6-0, 6-4 victory.

But the second-seeded Mirza twice had to fight back from a service break down in the final set against Casey Dellacqua of Australia before prevailing 6-4, 3-6, 6-4.

The Indian star, ranked 29th in the world, said experience proved the difference when it counted, keeping her cool despite losing her serve in the first and fifth games of the decider before seizing the momentum.

"It's about making those balls and making those points when it really counts. Probably she didn't make them the whole match, but I made them at 4-4 and I made them at 5-4. I think that counted at the end," Mirza said.

Spain's Ferrer, the world No. 8 enjoying his best-ever season on the ATP Tour, said he struggled in the first set -- and perhaps got lucky in the second.

"In the first set, I had many chances on very big points, but I couldn't take them," he said after the 92-minute match.

"Maybe in the second set, I played not better than I did in the first set, but I won it 6-2, because he had break points and he couldn't take those chances. That made the difference," Ferrer said.

A win for Ferrer here could boost his chances of securing a spot in the eight-man season-ending tournament in November. He is currently sixth on the list in the race to Shanghai.

Other top players in the men's draw -- second seed Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic, third seed Richard Gasquet of France, and fourth seed Lleyton Hewitt of Australia joined Ferrer in the third round.

Berdych downed compatriot Jiri Vanek 6-1, 6-4, while Gasquet breezed past the US' Zack Fleishman and Hewitt outclassed Luka Gregorc of Slovenia, both by a score of 6-3, 6-3.

Sixth seed Dmitry Tursunov of Russia, seventh seed Ivo Karlovic, 10th seed Feliciano Lopez, 12th seed Thomas Johansson of Sweden and 16th seed Michael Russell of the US all advanced to the third round. Frank Dancevic, the 15th seed, was upset by German veteran Rainer Schuettler 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, while the Vince Spadea ousted 14th seed Sergio Roitman 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (9/7).

On the women's side, fifth seed Virginie Razzano of France easily defeated Britain's Elena Baltacha 6-2, 6-2, while Italian eighth seed Flavia Pennetta defeated Abigail Spears 6-4, 7-6 (7/2).

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