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Safina survives struggle

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Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:27

The Russian, the second player after Jelena Jankovic to hold the number one spot without having won a grand slam title, surrendered the first set to her Chinese opponent 7-5.

She seemed to be asserting her superiority when she strolled through the second set 6-1, but Zheng battled to take the third to a tie-break. Safina prevailed though to take the match 5-7 6-1 7-6 (7/3) and seal a quarter-final with Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez.

The Spaniard, who on Tuesday upset Marion Bartoli, was a surprise 6-4 6-7 (5/7) 6-4 winner over Safina’s doubles partner Nadia Petrova, the eighth seed, on Wednesday.

Another seed surprisingly sent packing was Ana Ivanovic, beaten 6-1 3-6 6-4 by Agnieszka Radwanska.

The French Open champion, seeded fifth, has hardly been able to buy a win since triumphing in Paris last June and slipped to another early exit against Poland’s Radwanska, herself the 10th seed.

There were no such traumas for the third and fourth seeds, Jelena Jankovic and Venus Williams, who both secured safe passage.

Serbian Jankovic was 6-1 1-0 up when Kateryna Bondarenko was forced to retire, while Williams overcame a second-set blip to claim a 6-0 6-7 (8/10) 6-4 win over Russia’s Anna Chakvetadze to book a date with Radwanska.

Elsewhere, sixth seed Victoria Azarenka defeated Danish teenager Caroline Wozniacki 6-2 6-2 and will next face Kaia Kanepi, a 6-3 6-0 winner over Patty Schnyder, while seventh seed Svetlana Kuznetsova ousted Flavia Pennetta 6-3 3-6 6-0 to set up a last-eight clash with Jankovic.

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