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Clijsters, Sharapova advance, Zvonareva survives

US Open champion Kim Clijsters beat former No. 1-ranked Dinara Safina 7-5, 6-2 right after Maria Sharapova advanced 6-3, 6-1 over Andrea Petkovic 6-3, 6-1 in a rain-interrupted second round at Cincinnati on Wednesday.

sports Updated: Aug 12, 2010 09:37 IST

US Open champion Kim Clijsters beat former No 1-ranked Dinara Safina 7-5, 6-2 right after Maria Sharapova advanced 6-3, 6-1 over Andrea Petkovic 6-3, 6-1 in a rain-interrupted second round at Cincinnati on Wednesday.

Clijsters match was stopped for almost an hour after the first three games.

Sixth-seeded Vera Zvonareva had it tougher, waiting through two rain delays totaling 3 hours and 28 minutes before finally overcoming Maria Kirilenko 7-5, 2-6, 7-6 (3) at the $2 million Western & Southern Financial Group Women's Open.

The two Russians needed a total of 6 hours and 54 minutes to complete their match, including a delay of 2 hours and 19 minutes with the 28th-ranked Kirilenko leading 5-2 in the third set.

After they returned to the court, Zvonareva won three straight games and four of five before taking control of the tiebreaker by winning the first three points. She wasn't sure if the second delay helped.

"I always believe in myself," she said.

"It doesn't matter if I'm down 5-0, I think I can win it."

Zvonareva, who is scheduled to face 11th-seeded Flavia Pennetta in the third round, did know that the match was her longest in one day.

"Sometimes, they're delayed to the next day, but as far as going back and forth in the same day, that's the longest," she said with a laugh.

Third-seeded Elena Dementieva became the highest seed to be eliminated from the tournament when she was upset by 25th-ranked Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-1, 5-3 in another matchup of Russians.

"I had nothing to lose," Pavlyuchenkova said.

"I just wanted to enjoy the match, give her a good game and focus on the future. I've had a lot of chances in my other matches against her, but on the deciding points, I would go for it and rush. This time, I tried to not make the same mistake and be more consistent. She didn't really start well, and I tried to take advantage."

The sixth-ranked Dementieva said it was the "worst match in a long time for me."

"I just felt like I wasn't into the game," she said.

"My concentration wasn't there. I just wasn't ready 100 percent."

Pavlyuchenkova is scheduled to meet 13th-seeded Shahar Peer, who moved on with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Nuria Llagostera Vives.

Second-seeded Caroline Wozniacki needed just 51 minutes to advance with a 6-0, 6-2 win over Sybille Bammer, who committed 28 unforced errors to just four by Wozniacki.

Seventh-seeded Agnieska Radwanska advanced almost as easily, romping over Alisa Kleybanova, 6-4, 6-1.

Christina McHale had a 6-2, 6-4 win over Ayumi Morita to set up a third-round match with Clijsters.

French Open champion Francesca Schiavone was upset by Elena Vesnina 6-4, 6-4. After taking the first three games of the match, Schiavone dropped six of the next seven to lose the first set.

Vesnina, ranked No 49, opened the second set by breaking Schiavone.

No 12 Yanina Wickmayer and eighth-seeded Na Li both advanced to face off in the third round. The 11th-ranked Li cruised past No. 36 Sara Errani 6-2, 6-2. Wickmayer beat No 46 Gisela Dulko 7-6 (3), 6-2 before rain delayed the afternoon session for more than an hour.

Pennetta routed Monica Niculescu 6-0, 6-1, while No 62 Ana Ivanovic also advanced with a 6-1, 7-5 upset of 32nd-ranked Yaroslava Shvedova, her second straight win over a higher-ranked opponent.

She knocked off ninth-seeded Victoria Azarenka in the first round.

"I finished that first match strong, and I just tried to take that into the match today," Ivanovich said.

First Published: Aug 12, 2010 09:34 IST