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Armchair ride for Kuznetsova into quarters

sports Updated: Jan 26, 2009 12:33 IST

AFP
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Russian eighth seed Svetlana Kuznetsova had an armchair ride into the Australian Open quarter-finals on Monday when China's Zheng Jie retired injured from their fourth round match.

Zheng, seeded 22, had her left wrist strapped early in the first set and was unable to continue a short time later, with Kuznetsova leading 4-1.

The walkover win means 2004 US Open champion Kuznetsova will meet second seed Serena Williams in the quarter-finals.

The Russian said she felt in control of the match before Zheng pulled out but had sympathy for her opponent, who she has defeated in both of their previous meetings.

"I felt sorry for her because she was in great shape," the Monte Carlo-based 23-year-old said. "She was playing good. This pain I hope is not very dangerous."

Kuznetsova's appearance in the last eight equals her best performance at the Australian Open in 2005.

She was undaunted at the prospect of facing three-time Australian champion Williams, who is the bookies' favourite for this year's title.

"I don't think there is huge space between players in the top eight or top 10," she said. "I think everybody can win, it depends on the day.