Serena’s Open preparations gather pace
The womens quarter-final line up at this weeks Medibank International in Sydney is complete and top seed Serena Williams wasted no time booking her place in the last eight.
Williams had to save four match points in the first round match against Aussie Sam Stosur but Williams was never in trouble on Tuesday as she thrashed Italian Sara Errani 6-1, 6-2 in 50 minutes.
“I was a little better today,” said the nine-time grand slam champ, who plays Denmarks Caroline Wozniacki next. “I still think I can improve on some things, and that’s what I want to do. I don’t want to peak too soon.”
“I was a little disappointed with my serve in the first round, but it was much better today.
“I wasn’t necessarily trying to get off fast, but I wasn’t going slow either. I was just trying to win the points.”
Joining Williams in the quarters is second seeded Russian Dinara Safina who hammered compatriot Vera Dushevina 6-3, 6-0 to set up a clash with Alize Cornet of France, a straight-sets winner over another Russian, Alisa Kleybanova.
Olympic champion Elena Dementieva was another winner on day three after she got past Australian-based Slovak Jarmila Gajdosova, 6-2, 6-4.
Dementieva has enjoyed a perfect start to the new year after winning her first event in Auckland last week.
“It’s very important to play a couple tournaments before the grand slam just to get used to the game and get good confidence,” Dementieva said.
The Russian will play Polish sixth seed Agnieszka Radwanska next, who got the better of fan favourite Daniela Hantuchova of the Slovak Republic, 6-3, 7-5.
In the mens event defending champion Dmitry Tursunov found the going much tougher this time around when he lost 7-6, 6-4 to Frenchman Richard Gasquet in the first round.
Two seeds crashed out on day three sixth seed Tomas Berdych went down to Aussie Chris Guccione while eighth seed Mardy Fish lost to Janko Tipsarevic.
Aussie fans had plenty to cheer when Lleyton Hewitt fought his way into round two with a 5-7, 6-2, 6-4 victory over Frenchman Julien Benneteau.
“It was always going to be tough in the first sort of tournament match back for a while,” said Hewitt, who needed a wild card to get into the Sydney event.
In Auckland, the big result of the day was defending champion Philipp Kohlschreibers comfortable 6-1, 6-2 win over former Heineken Open champion Dominik Hrbaty of Slovakia.
Young Latvian Ernests Gulbis was also among the first round winners in New Zealand. The powerful right-hander fired down 13 aces during a 6-4, 6-7, 6-1 victory over Spaniard Marcel Granollers to set up a second round meeting with top seed Juan Martin del Potro.
And it was another day of shocks at the $220,000 Moorilla International in Hobart, Australia, where there are no seeds left in the main draw of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour event.
Five seeds crashed out in the first round and the remaining three were sent packing on Tuesday.
Top seed Flavia Pennetta lost to Magdalena Rybarikova 7-5, 6-3, fourth seed Zheng Jie was beaten by Argentine Gisela Dulko in straight sets and seventh seed Alona Bondarenko was outclassed by Petra Kvitova.
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