Schnyder advances in Stanford

July 18, 2008 09:42 AM
STANFORD, Calif. (AP) -- Patty Schnyder mixed up her shots just enough to keep Alisa Kleybanova off balance. Doing the same against Serena Williams might be a much bigger task.

Patty Schnyder 225
The fifth-seeded Schnyder of Switzerland displayed a nice array of power and finesse to get by the inconsistent Kleybanova 7-6 (8), 6-4 on Thursday in the second round of the Bank of the West Classic.

"Today, of course, I had a plan. It was just a matter of how many points she would allow me to do it,'' Schnyder said. "She was trying to dictate everything, whether winners or errors. ... I think she was so dominant it was tough for me to play. I had to mix it up a lot. It was her game plan to hit a lot of winners and also accept some errors.''

Next up for Schnyder: a date with top-seeded Williams in Friday's quarterfinals. And Williams certainly will be eager to play better tennis after rallying from a set down to beat 15-year-old Michelle Larcher de Brito of Portugal 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 on Wednesday night in her opening match.

Williams has won seven of their previous 10 meetings, though Schnyder has taken two of the past three including one match in which Williams retired.

"It feels strange already the quarters,'' Schnyder said. "I like playing her. Obviously she's a great champion. Still, with her game, somehow I have found some ways to beat her in previous matches. She's the favorite and she does (well on) hard court. It's going to very tough.''

In another second-round match Thursday, sixth-seeded Marion Bartoli of France trailed 4-1 in the final set before picking up her game to defeat England's Anne Keothavong 6-3, 1-6, 7-5. She screamed after ripping a backhand winner down the line on match point. Bartoli advances to face second-seeded Anna Chakvetadze of Russia in Friday's quarterfinals.

A surprising quarterfinalist is Samantha Stosur, who upset third-seeded Vera Zvonareva 6-3, 6-2 in Thursday's late match. Stosur was the "lucky loser'' in this tournament, earning a spot in the main draw when Lindsay Davenport was forced to withdraw because of a knee injury.

Stosur will play qualifier Aleksandra Wozniak of Canada in the quarterfinals Friday, meaning a qualifier will reach the semifinals in this event for the first time since Maria Vento-Kabchi in 2003.

Wozniak already beat Stosur 6-4, 6-2 on Monday in a qualifying match.

"I haven't done that before. It's a good opportunity for me to redeem myself,'' Stosur said.

Stosur hit four aces in the final game -- all from the ad court and down the T of the service line -- to end it. Neither player held serve in the opening three games of the second set until Stosur won her serve for a 3-1 lead.

For the 24-year-old Stosur, ranked No. 107, this run is quite meaningful considering she returned in April after being sidelined since last September with Lyme disease. Her body is holding up just fine and she's on her best surface, hardcourts.

"I guess I've really made the most of my opportunity getting in -- a bit of luck, find some form,'' Stosur said. "I served pretty good. I hit a few double faults but also a few aces. I attacked when I could and played pretty good defense when I needed to.''

Earlier, Keothavong forced Bartoli to hit a lot of balls in order to win.

"From one double break down it was almost the end for me. I decided I was going to win this match whatever it takes,'' said Bartoli, who got more aggressive and came to the net for quick points. "She was playing so well from the baseline and was hardly missing one ball. ... I was able to do it. It was hard to do it, but I was able to get those winners.''

The 29-year-old Schnyder is making her sixth appearance at Stanford, with a runner-up performance in 2006 here to Kim Clijsters as her best showing. She hasn't dropped a set in her first two matches.

Schnyder led 5-3 in the first-set tiebreaker against Kleybanova before the 19-year-old Russian fought back to make it interesting. The left-handed Schnyder trailed 3-2 in the second set after Kleybanova held serve, but evened it at 3-3 after winning her serve at love and hitting an ace on game point. Kleybanova then beat herself with her shaky serve. She double-faulted on back-to-back points to fall behind 4-3, Schnyder then held serve at love again to make it 5-3. After consecutive aces to start her next service game, Kleybanova had another double fault before holding that game.

"At the end I really felt comfortable on my service games,'' said Schnyder, who hit several pretty drop shots. "I felt like I finally had better speed and footwork on my forehands.''

This was the players' second career meeting and second this year after Schnyder won 6-1, 6-3 in first round of the Gold Coast event in Australia.​