Venus wins, Serena pulls out, Capriati loses

Associated Press

Charleston, April 16:

The top three seeds at the Family Circle Cup are no longer playing. And none of them lost on the court. Venus Williams, seeded fourth, is the highest remaining seed after Serena, seeded second, withdrew citing a sore left knee. Justine Henin-Hardenne and Amelie Mauresmo also withdrew for health reasons. Still, Venus Williams didn’t consider herself the favourite going into quarter-finals against Vera Zvonareva. Serena withdrew before her match with Conchita Martinez.

Other seeded players left the tournament a more conventional way. They lost their matches. Jennifer Capriati, the No 7 seed, was upset by Petra Mandula of Hungary 7-6, 3-6, 7-5 in third round. Mandula plays in one quarter-final against Jelena Kostanic, a 6-3, 6-1 winner over Dally Randriantefy. Vera Zvonareva beat Anna Smashnova-Pistolesi 6-4, 6-0 and will now face Venus Williams. In other matches, fifth-seeded Lindsay Davenport beat Nicole Pratt 6-1, 6-1 and improved her season record to 22-2. Davenport will meet Patty Schnyder in the quarter-finals. Schnyder was a 6-3, 6-1 winner over Elena Dementieva. No 8 Nadia Petrova defeated Alina Jidkova 6-1, 6-1, and will face Martinez.

Clay Court C’ship

HOUSTON: German Tommy Haas took another step in his comeback from shoulder surgery with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Paul Goldstein in a second-round match at the US Men’s Clay Court championships. Haas, who missed all of last season and hasn’t played on clay since the 2002 French Open, broke Goldstein in the 10th game of the first set. Haas ran away with the second set with breaks in the second and eighth games. Haas will play Dmitry Tursunov of Russia in quarter-finals.

Valencia Open

MADRID: Top-seeded Juan Carlos Ferrero defeated Czech Jan Vacek 6-3, 7-5 to help give Spain six quarter-finalists in the Valencia Open. Ferrero will meet Croatian Mario Ancic, who eliminated eighth-seeded Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo of Spain 7-5, 6-2. Also, seventh-seeded David Ferrer knocked out Raemon Sluiter of the Netherlands 6-2, 6-4, to set up an all-Spanish quarter-final against Fernando Verdasco, who upset third-seeded Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia 6-4, 6-4.

Estoril Open

OEIRAS: Rafael Nadal of Spain squeezed past Richard Gasquet of France 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 in the first match between the 17-year-olds to reach the quarter-finals. Nadal advanced to his third quarter-final this year, against Irakli Labadze of Georgia, who upset sixth-seeded Max Mirnyi of Belarus 6-3, 6-3. Eighth-seeded Marat Safin downed Thierry Ascione of France 6-4, 6-4 to set up a last-eight match with No 4 Tommy Robredo of Spain. Robredo beat Mariano Zabaleta of Argentina 6-1, 7-6. In women’s second-round action, No 4 Denisa Chladkova beat Portuguese wild card Neuza Silva 6-2, 6-1 to set up an all-Czech quarter-final against No 6 Iveta Benesova, who downed Flavia Pennetta of Italy 6-3, 6-4.