Sat, Apr 09, 2011 - Page 18 News List

Vesnina topples Stosur in Charleston

AFP, CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA

Samantha Stosur of Australia returns a backhand to Elena Vesnina of Russia on Thursday during their women’s tennis match at the Family Circle Cup in Charleston, South Carolina.

Photo: Reuters

Second seed and defending champion Samantha Stosur crashed out of the WTA’s Family Circle Cup on Thursday, falling in straight sets to unseeded Russian Elena Vesnina.

On a day when top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki passed a tough test with flying colors, coming up with two tiebreak victories to reach the quarter-finals, Australia’s Stosur fell 6-4, 6-1 to Vesnina.

“Anytime you lose early in a tournament, it’s not a good feeling, but especially in a tournament like this, where I really enjoyed playing,” said Stosur, who this week announced through Tennis Australia that she would skip the country’s upcoming FedCup tie against Ukraine to focus on the clay court build-up to the French Open.

World No. 1 Wozniacki, meanwhile, fended off the solid challenge of Czech Barbora Zahlavova Strycova, 7-6 (8/6), 7-6 (11/9) in a match lasting more than two-and-a-half hours.

“I knew that it wasn’t going to be easy. I’ve seen her before and played her last year here,” Wozniacki said.

Wozniacki jumped out to a 4-1 first-set lead.

However, after a frustrated Zahlavova Strycova spoke to her coach, she adopted a more aggressive approach that paid handsome dividends.

The Czech was able to extend the rallies, pushing Wozniacki into the corners of the court to chase down shots.

After forcing the first tiebreaker, Zahlavova Strycova dropped behind 5-1, then won five straight points to hold a set point that she couldn’t convert.

Zahlavova Strycova took a 2-0 lead in the second frame before Wozniacki rallied.

After forcing the tiebreaker, Wozniacki took a 5-2 lead, but Zahlavova Strycova fought off four match points.

Zahlavova Strycova had a set point at 9-8, but again couldn’t convert, this time surrendering the match.

In the quarter-finals, Wozniacki will play sixth-seeded Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium, a 6-4, 7-5 winner over Georgia’s Anna Tatishvili.

Vesnina next plays play Germany’s Julia Goerges, who beat fifth-seeded Israeli Shahar Peer 6-2, 6-3.

Third-seeded Jelena Jankovic of Serbia defeated South African Chanelle Scheepers 6-2, 6-2 to reach the quarter-finals.

She’ll face 18-year-old American Christina McHale, who beat Slovakian Daniela Hantuchova 7-6 (7/3), 6-1.

The other quarter-final will pit China’s Peng Shuai against India’s Sania Mirza.

ATP HOUSTON

AFP, HOUSTON, TEXAS

Mardy Fish made a victorious debut as the US’ top-ranked men’s tennis player on Thursday, defeating Albert Ramos in straight sets to reach the quarter-finals of the US Clay Court Championships.

Fish, the top seed in this US$442,500 ATP event, defeated Ramos 6-3, 6-4, turning back a late charge that saw the Spaniard pull back from 5-1 down in the second set to 5-4.

Fish, who won this title in 2006, arrived in Houston ranked 11th in the world after reaching the semi-finals of the Miami Masters last week.

With Andy Roddick’s fall from eighth to 14th, Fish is the top-ranked US man for the first time in his career.

However, Fish admitted he found it difficult to make the transition from the Miami hard courts to clay.

Fish was to face sixth-seeded Kei Nishikori of Japan yesterday.

Nishikori beat Igor Andreev of Russia 6-3, 6-3.

Third-seeded Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain also reached the quarter-finals, overcoming five double-faults in a 6-4, 6-1 victory over India’s Somdev Devvarman.

Seventh-seeded Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay cruised to a 7-5, 6-1 victory over American James Blake. Cuevas, who defeated Roddick in Miami, had six aces as he dominated the second set.

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