Wed, Jan 14, 2009 - Page 20 News List

Williams, Safina advance to Sydney quarter-finals


Kaia Kanepi of Estonia returns to Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia during their women’s singles match yesterday at the Sydney International tournament.


Top-seeded Serena Williams and No. 2 Dinara Safina made short work of their second-round opponents yesterday to move into the Sydney International quarter-finals.

Williams, who was stretched to three sets and saved four match points in her opening match against Samantha Stosur of Australia, beat Sara Errani of Italy 6-1, 6-2 in 50 minutes yesterday.

Her win came moments after Safina finished off a 6-3, 6-0 win over fellow Russian Vera Dushevina.

Errani was in trouble from the outset, challenging two line calls within eight minutes of the first set — and both went against her.

Errani consulted with her coach after losing a third straight game and although she rallied at the beginning of the second set, the Italian seemed to lose her focus.

Four other seeded players in the women’s draw at the joint ATP-WTA tournament also advanced yesterday.

No. 3 Elena Dementieva of Russia beat Jarmila Gajdosova of Slovakia 6-2, 6-4 and No. 5 Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia beat Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi 6-2, 2-6, 7-6 (3). Sixth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland defeated Slovakia’s Daniela Hantuchova 6-3, 7-5 and Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark, the eighth-seeded player, beat Britain’s Melanie South 6-2, 6-0.

Williams will play Wozniacki in the quarter-finals.

In another match, Japan’s Ai Sugiyama beat Anabel Medina Garrigues of Spain 2-6, 6-1, 6-2.

In first-round men’s play, Janko Tipsarevic, cheered on by dozens of boisterous, flag-waving Serbian fans, defeated eighth-seeded Mardy Fish of the US 6-4, 3-6, 6-4.

Australian Chris Guccione used the hometown crowd to his advantage to beat No. 6 Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-4.

Lleyton Hewitt of Australia continued his comeback from a five-month injury layoff to beat Julien Benneteau 5-7, 6-2, 6-4 and Paul-Henri Mathieu of France beat Andreas Seppi 6-2, 2-6, 6-3.

Hewitt, who plays Tipsarevic in the next round, has won the Sydney title four times and had a 20-match winning streak at the 2000 Olympic venue. The win maintained Hewitt’s record of never having lost a first-round match in 19 tournaments in Australia.

In later matches, two French players advanced. Richard Gasquet beat defending champion Dmitry Tursunov of Russia 7-6 (4), 6-4 and Jeremy Chardy won his match over Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic when Stepanek retired due to a flu-like illness when trailing 6-4, 3-0.

The top four men’s seeds — Novak Djokovic, Gilles Simon, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and David Nalbandian — received first-round byes.

Djokovic, who begins the defense of his Australian Open title next week in Melbourne, plays Mathieu today.

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