MONTREAL (Ticker) - Svetlana Kuznetsova is doing her best to take advantage of a great situation.
Kuznetsova advanced to the quarterfinals with a 6-2, 7-6 (7-6) victory over Ai Sugiyama of Japan at the $1.34 million Rogers Cup on Thursday.
The fourth seed from Russia, Kuznetsova is playing in her first event since losing in the third round at Wimbledon. Despite the month-long absence, the 21-year-old has been solid, reaching the round of eight for the 11th time but the first since Eastbourne in late June.
The 2004 U.S. Open champion, Kuznetsova is the highest seeded player left in the draw after top seed Kim Clijsters was forced to retire with a left wrist injury and No. 3 Nadia Petrova was dumped by fellow Russian Anna Chakvetadze.
Second seed Maria Sharapova opted out of the event on Saturday due to fatigue.
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Kuznetsova next will meet seventh-seeded Martina Hingis in the quarterfinals on Friday. A former world No. 1, the Swiss star knocked off 11th-seeded Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia, 7-5, 6-4.
In the top half of the draw, fifth seed Nicole Vaidisova withdrew prior to her match against Nicole Pratt of Australia due to right shoulder tendinitis. The Czech was looking to reach the quarterfinals for the third time in as many events, losing to Clijsters in the semifinals at both Stanford and San Diego.
Thanks to the walkover win, Pratt will meet No. 9 Dinara Safina of Russia in the quarters. Safina bounced the only remaining American in the draw, posting a 7-5, 6-3 victory over Shenay Perry.
Like Pratt, the 13th-seeded Ana Ivanovic of Serbia & Montenegro advanced with a walkover against countrywoman Jelena Jankovic. Jankovic, who lost in the final of Los Angeles to Russian Elena Dementieva on Sunday, also elected not to play Thursday due to right shoulder tendinitis.
Ivanovic moves on to face No. 14 Katarina Srebotnik of Slovenia, who dispatched Canadian wild card Stephanie Dubois, 6-3, 6-2. The Quebec native made it to the third round when Clijsters retired Wednesday despite leading, 1-6, 3-2.
"I've learned a lot during this tournament," the 19-year-old Dubois said. "I noticed that my serve needs to be stronger and more precise. Still, I played my best match of the tournament this week. I think I belonged on court. I'm aiming to be ranked in the top 100 within six months to one year and in the top 50 within two years."
Following up on her win over Petrova, Chakvetadze routed France's Nathalie Dechy, 6-1, 6-4. The 19-year-old Russian, who reached the quarterfinals for the third time this season, will meet Israel's Shahar Peer, who rallied for a 2-6, 7-5, 6-4 victory over Marion Bartoli of France.