Sat, Aug 08, 2009 - Page 20 News List

China’s Zheng knocks out world No. 1 Dinara Safina

REUTERS , LOS ANGELES

China’s Zheng Jie returns to Russia’s Dinara Safina during their singles match at the LA Women’s Championships in Carson, California, on Thursday.

PHOTO: REUTERS

China’s Zheng Jie capitalized on a final set meltdown by world No. 1 Dinara Safina to reach the quarter-finals of the LA Championships with a 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 victory over the Russian on Thursday.

The 14th-seeded Zheng stood strong against a barrage of huge blows from her opponent over the course of the 2 hour, 10 minute contest to emerge with a first win in five attempts against the defending champion.

Safina had appeared on course for victory when she forged a 4-2 lead in the third set, but imploded completely, handing back the break with a double-fault before losing the final eight points of the match to crash out of the tournament.

“It’s tough to play her, but I didn’t do the right things,” Safina told reporters.”

Zheng advanced to a last eight encounter against in-form Australian Samantha Stosur, who continued her fine season with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over sixth seed Ana Ivanovic.

The 13th seed was delighted to overcome the Serbian former world No. 1, gaining some revenge for losing to Ivanovic in their last meeting at Wimbledon in June. It was also Stosur’s sixth win over a top 15 opponent this year.

“Anytime you play against someone you lost to recently, it’s a bit of a benchmark to test yourself,” Stosur said.

Russia’s Maria Sharapova continued her rehabilitation from a lengthy injury layoff when she rallied from a set down to defeat Alona Bondarenko 4-6, 6-0, 6-3.

The three-time Grand Slam champion benefited from a more aggressive approach against the Ukrainian compared with the last time they met in May, a straight sets victory for Bondarenko in Sharapova’s first tournament back from shoulder surgery.

“It was good to get the win and get my revenge,” the unseeded Sharapova said.

Sharapova will face Polish teenager Urszula Radwanska, who advanced when 12th seed Li Na of China withdrew because of an ankle injury.

Second seed Vera Zvonareva also advanced with a 7-6 (7/5), 4-6, 6-4 win over Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium and the Russian moves on to meet 10th seed Flavia Pennetta of Italy, who upended Nadia Petrova 6-3, 6-3.

No. 8 seed Agnieszka Radwanska, Urszula’s older sister, eased past Russia’s Anna Chakvetadze 6-3, 6-2 and will play Sorana Cirstea of Romania, who was 6-3, 1-0 ahead of Sabine Lisicki when the German retired with a shoulder injury.

■WASHINGTON CLASSIC

AFP, WASHINGTON

US top seed Andy Roddick captured the 500th match victory of his career on Thursday, defeating compatriot Sam Querrey 7-6 (7/4), 6-4 to reach the quarter-finals of the ATP Washington Classic.

Roddick became the 36th Open-era player to reach 500 match wins and the fourth active player at the mark, the ninth-year professional joining Roger Federer with 657, Spain’s Carlos Moya on 573 and Australian Lleyton Hewitt with 511.

“It’s a pretty small number who have gotten there, an elite group,” Roddick said.

Fifth-ranked Roddick, who turns 27 later this month, won his only Grand Slam title at the 2003 US Open. He seeks a 29th career crown this week and fourth Washington title to go with the cake he received for his 500th match victory.

“That’s kind of a milestone in tennis,” Roddick said. “It’s a very humbling experience. Who knows? We might try for 500 more.”

Roddick, in his first event since losing a five-set thriller to Federer in last month’s Wimbledon final, will play big-serving Ivo Karlovic for a semi-final spot.

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