LAXEMBURG: Patty Schnyder beat Kim Clijsters 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (6) to reach the Luxembourg Open quarter-finals.
The former Swiss star punished Clijsters for her 11 double faults in the two-hour match and imposed the first defeat on the Belgian since she won the US Open last month. Second-seeded Clijsters struggled throughout with her service, landing only 58 per cent of first serves.
Schnyder lost to Clijsters in the latter’s first tournament in more than two years, at Cincinnati in August. But the tour veteran kept a cool head in the decisive tiebreak to beat Clijsters for the first time since 2005. The defeat was only Clijsters’ second in 26 main draw matches at Luxembourg, where she was seeking a sixth title.
Schnyder, the former top-10 player ranked 47th, will play Sabine Lisicki of Germany in the quarter-finals. Another Belgian, Yanina Wickmayer, did better. She beat France’s Alize Cornet 7-5, 7-6 (6) to earn a match against compatriot Kirsten Flipkens on Friday.
Earlier, No 4-seeded Daniela Hantuchova won a marathon second-round match against Czech Lucie Hradecka 7-5, 3-6, 6-2 to advance and will play her quarter-final against Israel’s Shahar Peer, who beat No 8 Carla Suarez Navarro 3-6, 6-3, 6-1.
Hantuchova became the new tournament favourite. Top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark withdrew in the opening round with a left leg injury and third-seeded Anabel Medina Garrigues lost in the second round.
Kremlin Cup
MOSCOW: Top seed Vera Zvonareva’s bid for the last remaining berth in the season-ending WTA championship in Doha was scuppered on Thursday as she fell to Bulgarian qualifier Tsvetana Pironkova at the Kremlin Cup. The Russian was shocked 6-0, 6-2 in her first meeting with 126th-ranked Pironkova handing Serbia’s Jelena Jankovic the eighth and final spot in the $4.55-million Doha championships. Defending champion Jankovic, the second seed here, breezed into the quarter-finals with a 7-6 (7/5), 6-3 win over Czech Lucie Safarova.
Thursday’s action also saw former men’s World No 1 Marat Safin suffer a second round defeat as the charismatic Russian, who will retire at the end of the season, made his last hometown appearance. In the ATP event, Safin crashed out losing to a compatriot Evgeny Korolev 6-4, 7-6 (7/4). — AFP