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Alex Ousted, Sara Smooth

The departure of Alexandra Dulgheru from Barcelona on Wednesday means Sara Errani is now the highest seed left.

Published April 27, 2011 02:48

Alex Ousted, Sara Smooth
Sara Errani

BARCELONA, Spain - After the scattering of seeds on the first two days of the Barcelona Ladies Open, steadily rising Romanian Alexandra Dulgheru might well have fancied her chances of picking up a third career title this week. But on Wednesday the $220,000 tournament's No.2 seed was stunned by Spanish qualifier Estrella Cabeza Candela, leaving No.5 Sara Errani the highest seed to make it through to the last eight.

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Her 24th birthday looming on Friday, Errani was first to book her spot in the quarterfinals; she beat fellow Italian and lucky loser Maria Elena Camerin, 64 61. Granted, Errani doesn't boast the biggest serve in tennis, but making 88% of first serves was good news nonetheless.

Later, Errani's doubles partner, No.6 seed Roberta Vinci ensured she was the only other seed still in contention with a 61 64 defeat of Yaroslava Shvedova. And freshly-crowned Fès champion Alberta Brianti became the third Italian through to the quarters when she beat Vavara Lepchenko of the US, 60 57 62.

It was almost as good a day for the host nation, with two Spaniards winning through. In perhaps the biggest upset of the tournament so far, qualifier Cabeza Candela dispatched Dulgheru, 75 63; for her part, Laura Pous-Tio was an easy winner over American veteran Jill Craybas in 70 minutes, 61 61.

The remaining quarterfinal slots were snapped up by Lucie Hradecka, who defeated Gisela Dulko, 64 63; Polona Hercog, who beat Mirjana Lucic, 61 61; and Virginie Razzano, who won a match of shifting momentum against Magdalena Rybarikova, 76(6) 16 62. The Slovak, who had upset top seed Marion Bartoli in the first round, led 5-1 in the first set tie-break but her French opponent surged to steal the crucial opener. 

Razzano faces Vinci in Thursday's quarterfinals. Perhaps surprisingly, Errani meets Brianti for the first time, Pous-Tio plays Hercog and Hradecka tackles Cabeza Candela. Pous-Tio, Hercog, Hradecka and Cabeza Candela are all hunting a first WTA singles title.

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