World No. 1 Victoria Azarenka swept into the quarter-finals of the Qatar Open with a swift demolition of Romanian Simona Halep on Thursday, as Lucie Safarova claimed another top scalp.
Belarussian Azarenka, the Australian Open champion, won 10 games in a row on the way to beating the 63rd-ranked Halep 6-3, 6-1, while Safarova, who had knocked out second seed Caroline Wozniacki on Wednesday, sent former US and French Open champion, 14th seed Svetlana Kuznetsova, packing with a 7-6 (8/6), 6-3 victory.
Kuznetsova was the 12th of the 16 seeds in the 64-player draw to crash out of the event over the first four days.
Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska fought back from a break down to advance to the last eight with a 7-5, 6-1 win over Varvara Lepchenko of the US.
Meanwhile, Australian third seed Samantha Stosur ousted the Czech Republic’s Petra Cetkovska 6-3, 6-2, but Israeli Shahar Peer’s quest for a first title in the Middle East ended prematurely.
Peer, whose participation in events in the Gulf has often generated a furor, was beaten 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 by Christina McHale of the US.
COPA BBVA COLSANITAS
The last two seeded players were knocked out of the Copa BBVA Colsanitas in second-round matches on Thursday in the clay-court tournament.
Top-seeded Marina Erakovic of New Zealand was beaten 6-4, 6-4 by Edina Gallovits-Hall of Romania, while fifth seed Gisela Dulko lost to Alexandra Panova of Russia 7-5, 6-2.
Karin Knapp of Italy defeated Catalina Castano of Colombia 6-3, 2-6, 6-2 and Paula Ormaechea of Argentina won against Petra Rampre of Slovenia 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (7/4).