Second seeded Safina Advances at Gold Coast

Posted on January 3, 2007

GOLD COAST, Australia - Three seeds and Australia's top player all won their second round matches Thursday, completing the final eight roster at the Mondial Australian Women's Hardcourts. All four quarterfinal matches will take the court on Thursday.

No.2 seed Dinara Safina was the highest seed in action, and despite some resistance from her opponent late in the match she had few problems in dismissing countrywoman Maria Kirilenko, 62 75. After cruising through the first set, Safina saw herself in a 4-2 second set hole; but she battled back to clinch the one-hour, 28-minute win.

"It was really high quality tennis and it a really good match for me to play in the first tournament of the season," Safina stated. "I had to fight. She has good hands and isn't scared to do anything. I think she's going to have a really good year."

Awaiting Safina in the quarterfinals on Thursday will be unseeded Gold Coast native Samantha Stosur, who crushed wildcard and fellow Australian Sophie Ferguson, 63 64. Safina has beaten Stosur in both of their prior encounters, the first a 46 76(5) 64 nail-biter at Moscow in 2005 and the second a 63 62 rout at Indian Wells last year.

"She plays well here, the courts suit her, and the crowds like her," said Safina on Stosur. "It will be a tough match. I think who is stronger on the day will win."

No.3-seeded Ana Ivanovic and No.5-seeded Shahar Peer also won through on Wednesday, Ivanovic beating Milagros Sequera, 61 62, and Peer downing Olga Poutchkova, 63 62.

"I was very happy with the way I played today," Ivanovic said. "I was moving better in the court than in the last match and was coming forward a lot more. My serve and volleys were both working well. It was a good match and gave me some confidence."

"Olga had a great end to 2006 so I knew she'd be tough," Peer said. "I'm happy with the tennis I played, I held my concentration and I was there every point."

Thursday's match between Ivanovic and Peer will be the first Sony Ericsson WTA Tour meeting between two of the game's most promising (and hardest-hitting) young stars.

"I played her last year in Fed Cup on clay, and she won in three sets, but that was clay and I've improved a lot since then," said Ivanovic on the looming duel. "She's a great player and I think we'll have a good match. I'm looking forward to it."

"I played her last April on clay and I beat her, but that was clay, and every match is a new match and every day a new day," Peer said. "She's a nice girl and a friend of mine and I'm looking forward to the match."

Safina, Stosur, Ivanovic and Peer will join Martina Hingis, Catalina Castaņo, Elena Vesnina and Tathiana Garbin in Thursday's line-up. Hingis, the seeded No.1, will be up against Castaņo, while Vesnina and Garbin will do battle. (WTA)