Sara Soars Into Last Eight

Defending champion Sara Errani and top seed Dinara Safina are the only seeds left in Portoroz.

Published July 23, 2009 08:56

Sara Soars Into Last Eight
Sara Errani

PORTOROZ, Slovenia - The quarterfinal line-up was finalized at the Banka Koper Slovenia Open on Thursday, after the first two match-ups were determined on Wednesday. And aside from top seed Dinara Safina, who made her appointed slot in the last eight yesterday, the only seed remaining after Thursday's play is Italy's Sara Errani.

As well as being the No.5 seed, 22-year-old Errani is the defending champion at the $220,000 International-level event, and was clearly in no mood to give up on her dream of back-to-back titles as she swept aside 2005 champion Klara Zakopalova in 50 minutes, 61 61.

"I love playing when it's hot," said the world No.38, drawing a connection between her speedy win and the 34 degrees Celsius temperature on court. Her Czech opponent's 33 unforced errors also helped, but the native of Bologna said she had been wary ahead of the match.

"She's a very good player and I'd lost against her two times," Errani said. "But last week (reaching the final at Palermo) was incredible for me, it was a turn from bad to good results. So I'm gaining confidence."

Next up for the Italian is Croatian wildcard Petra Martic, who reached her first Tour quarterfinal at Portoroz 12 months ago. The 18-year-old dispatched qualifier Vesna Manasieva, conqueror of No.2 seed Anabel Medina Garrigues in the first round, 61 63.

"The result is good but it does not reflect the events on court," Martic said. "It wasn't easy at all. I'm happy with my play, happy to have won and to have qualified to the quarterfinals."

Of the tough task ahead, she added: "Sara is a terrific defense player and is of course the favorite for the victory. I will do my best and try to surprise her."

The other seed in action on Thursday was No.8 Petra Kvitova, who won her maiden title on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour at Hobart in January but has struggled to keep momentum since. The Czech teen fell to 27-year-old Frenchwoman Camille Pin in straight sets, 64 64. Pin's opponent in the quarters will be 29-year-old Alberta Brianti of Italy, who beat Belarusian Olga Govortsova in straight sets, and will be playing just her second Tour quarterfinal, after 2006 Kolkata.

Friday's other quarterfinals pit Safina against Maria Elena Camerin after the Italian beat seventh seed Vera Dushevina on Wednesday; Swiss 19-year-old Stefanie Voegele earned her berth by beating No.6 seed Lucie Safarova, and takes on 33-year-old Rossana de los Ríos. The Paraguayan veteran was responsible for the early exit of fourth seed Roberta Vinci.

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