Venus advances to quarterfinals

August 3, 2007 12:40 AM
CARLSBAD, Calif. (AP) -- Venus Williams beat Daniela Hantuchova again Thursday night, eliminating the No. 6 seed from the Acura Classic with a 6-0, 6-3 victory.

Williams, seeded 10th, beat Hantuchova for the ninth time without a loss. The reigning Wimbledon champion, who won this event from 2000-02, moved into the quarterfinals.

Earlier, Maria Kirilenko earned the biggest victory of her career with a 6-2, 3-6, 7-5 win over No. 3 ranked Jelena Jankovic.

Kirilenko's victory moved five Russian players into Friday's quarterfinals, including No. 1 seed Maria Sharapova. The defending tournament champion advanced with a 6-0, 6-3 win over No. 13 Tatiana Golovin of France.

"I just played the tougher points well," Sharapova said. "I thought I did a really good job of concentrating. I thought I played smart. I thought I played aggressive."

Kirilenko, unseeded and ranked 42nd in the world, needed three match points in the third set to finish off Jankovic, the No. 2 seed. Kirilenko, 20, beat a top-10 player for the just the third time in her career, but this was her first victory against Jankovic.

"I think Maria played really well, one of her best matches," Jankovic said of Kirilenko. "I was struggling the whole match. I had a cold. I had my chances. The chances were there, but I didn't do the right thing."

Kirilenko credited her aggressive play for the victory.

"With (top players), if you play passive, it doesn't work," Kirilenko said. "I tried to be more aggressive and it helped me."

Kirilenko said she had extra motivation to win the match. Her coach promised to buy her a Labrador retriever if she pulled out a victory.

"At the end of the match I started to think about it," said Kirilenko as she laughed. "I was thinking, 'Match point, and the dog is mine."'

No. 11 Patty Schnyder won a matchup of Swiss players with a 6-1, 6-7 (4), 6-3 victory over seventh-seeded Martina Hingis in a third-round match. Schnyder has beaten Hingis in three of five career meetings.

Of the remaining Russians, ninth-seeded Elena Dementieva was the most impressive with a 6-4, 7-5 victory over No. 5 seed Marion Bartoli of France. Third-seeded Anna Chakvetadze advanced with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Japan's Ai Sugiyama for her 11th straight victory. No. 4 seed Nadia Petrova was a 6-3, 7-6 (10) winner over Slovenia's Katarina Srebotnik.

Eighth-seeded Dinara Safina of Russia was beaten by India's Sania Mirza, 6-1. 6-2. Mirza is coming off a runner-up finish to Chakvetadze on Sunday in the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford.

A change of strategy helped lift Dementieva over Bartoli, a Wimbledon finalist this year. Dementieva decided to vary her hitting tempo in the third-round match.

"I changed up my tactics because I know that she likes to play fast," Dementieva said. "I hit some drop shots and tried to change the pace."

Bartoli, who lost to Williams in straight sets at the Wimbledon finals, agreed that Dementieva's tactics worked.

"You look like you're in control, but she makes you work for every point," Bartoli said. "You think you're on top of her but if you don't play a quick ball, she'll push it back at you and put pressure on you."

Chakvetadze, winner of the last two WTA tournaments and 22 of 24 matches since May, was pushed by Sugiyama. But she overcame Sugiyama, who has beaten four top 10-ranked opponents in 13 tournaments in San Diego.