Down To Eight In Fès
Published April 21, 2011 05:35
FÈS, Morocco - The quarterfinal line-up was set at the $220,000 Grand Prix de SAR La Princesse Lalla Meryem on Thursday, but with neither of the seeds in second round action advancing to the last eight.
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While Dinara Safina's straight set defeat of eighth seed Alizé Cornet wasn't such a surprise - both have struggled over the past year or so, but Safina had won their two previous encounters - No.2 seed Yaroslava Shvedova's 62 76(5) defeat by Anastasia Pivovarova was another blow to a player trying to make her way back from injury.
"It was a tough battle, but I'm happy to get through," said world No.116 Pivovarova, who has endured a litany of injuries herself during her young career. Although the 20-year-old was sometimes shaky on serve, she broke her 49th-ranked opponent on five of six opportunities to keep control of the match, and retrieved a 1-4 deficit in the second set tie-break.
"It's so unusual for me to be at a tournament without my mom or a coach," she said. "I appreciate all the support I've received."
Next up for Pivovarova is Safina, who also reached the quarterfinals at her last tournament, the Andalucía Tennis Experience, but was forced to retired with recurring back troubles. Against Cornet, though, the former world No.1 showed no sign of difficulty as she cruised to victory, 61 63.
In the first match of the day, Alberta Brianti moved into the last eight by beating Russia's Ksenia Pervak, 75 62. In the quarters the 31-year-old Italian faces Melanie Oudin, who was gifted a walkover when Slovenia's Polona Hercog withdrew with a right ankle injury.
In the other quarters, No.7 seed Simona Halep, runner-up here last year, takes on fourth-seeded Greta Arn; and in her first WTA quarterfinal, Moroccan wildcard Nadia Lalami plays Belgium's Kirsten Flipkens. While Halep holds a 1-0 head-to-head lead over Arn, the other three quarterfinals represent first meetings.
The doubles semifinals have also been set. Top seeds Andrea Hlavackova and Renata Voracova play No.4 seeds Mervana Jugic-Salkic and Darija Jurak on Friday, with Safina and Galina Voskoboeva to tackle Nina Bratchikova and Sandra Klemenschits on Saturday.