Sam Edges Dani, QFs Set
Published June 16, 2010 12:00
EASTBOURNE, England - Only three of the eight seeds at the AEGON International survived the first round and all of them survived the second round too, two of them barely. Samantha Stosur and Marion Bartoli were pushed to the limit while Kim Clijsters cruised into the quarterfinals of the Premier stop.
Stosur, the No.3 seed, was the first of the trio into the final eight, needing almost two hours to edge Daniela Hantuchova, 63 36 64. Helped by 13 aces during the match, Stosur pulled away from 3-all in the third set, breaking serve and then holding on until the end. She actually saved four break points trying to serve out the match at 5-4 in the third before closing the Slovak out.
"Daniela is a good player and we've had some close matches," Stosur said. "The more matches I get on grass, the better I feel. I've played quite well here so far. I hope this year I can do the best I've ever done on grass."
Clijsters, the No.5 seed and a champion in Eastbourne in 2005, continued to cruise in her comeback from a foot injury that forced her out of Roland Garros, defeating Lucie Safarova comprehensively in just 38 minutes, 61 60.
"It was a good one. Quick and perfect," said Clijsters, who is playing her first grass court tournament in four years. "Yesterday was my first match in a while on grass, and today was even better. That's a good sign. I'm playing good tennis and that's the most important thing for me. I've always liked playing on grass."
Bartoli, seeded No.8, rallied from 63 31 down to beat Agnes Szavay, 36 64 64. Bartoli is now one step away from her fourth straight semifinal here, having reached that round each of the last three years (falling in 2007 to Justine Henin, in 2008 to Agnieszka Radwanska and in 2009 to Virginie Razzano).
Disappointing to locals was Victoria Azarenka's 61 61 rout of Heather Watson.
"She's a very good player and moves very well," Azarenka said on Watson, who had won her first Sony Ericsson WTA Tour main draw match in the first round. "I had never seen her play before but my coach watched her match yesterday. We had tough rallies. It was a difficult match and I'm happy the way I handled it."
Azarenka next faces Clijsters. Clijsters leads their head-to-head, 2-0.
"I lost to her in Montréal and Miami. She's a great player," Azarenka said. "She knows the game, has so much experience, and she's an amazing person."
Other winners in the afternoon were Svetlana Kuznetsova, María José Martínez Sánchez and qualifier Ekaterina Makarova. Kuznetsova had the toughest match of the day, edging Sorana Cirstea in two and a half hours, 46 76(6) 76(4). Cirstea was up a break twice in the second set and even had match point at 6-5 in the breaker, but Kuznetsova, champ here in 2004, got the win.