Williams, Sharapova, Davenport, Myskina advance in Acura Classic
By BETH HARRIS, AP Sports Writer
July 30, 2004
AP - Jul 29, 11:29 pm EDT
CARLSBAD, Calif. (AP) -- Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova
led four Russians into the Acura Classic quarterfinals Thursday with a 6-0, 6-1 victory over Gisela Dulko
Sharapova, the sixth seed, needed all of 44 minutes to win her third-round match in the first tournament she's played since surprising Serena Williams
in the Wimbledon final earlier this month.
Her countrywomen were nearly as quick. French Open champion Anastasia Myskina
defeated Chanda Rubin
6-1, 6-2 in 61 minutes; No. 5 Elena Dementieva
got by Russian Elena Likhovtseva
6-2, 7-6 (2) in 75 minutes; and No. 12 Vera Zvonareva
beat seventh-seeded Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova
6-2, 6-3 in 60 minutes.
No. 4 Lindsay Davenport
, winner of titles at Stanford and Carson in the last two weeks, routed Conchita Martinez
6-1, 6-2 in 47 minutes.
Williams, the top seed who hasn't won a title since March, defeated another Russian, Elena Bovina
, 6-4, 6-2 in 68 minutes.
Trailing 3-2 in the first set, Bovina had triple break point against Williams, but Williams came up with two winners and Bovina sent a forehand long on a second serve as Williams held. Bovina double-faulted to drop her serve and trail 5-2.
Bovina won the next two games to get to 5-4, but Williams closed out the set with a 110 mph serve that the Russian barely got her racket on. In the second set, Bovina fought off triple break point to hold for a 2-1 lead, but Williams ran off the final five games, including two service breaks, and won on her third match point when Bovina's backhand went wide.
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``It boiled down to who could hold serve, but my serve carried me throughout the match,'' Williams said. ``This is the best I've played in the last few weeks. Baby steps, but I'll get there.''
Other third-round winners Thursday were: No. 8 Ai Sugiyama
, 6-3, 6-2 over Marion Bartoli
; and Amy Frazier
, who beat Alicia Molik
3-6, 6-3, 6-4. Molik was coming off an upset of second-seeded Amelie Mauresmo
Sharapova will play the third-seeded Myskina in Friday's quarterfinals at La Costa Resort and Spa.
``It's going to be very tough for me. Now she's playing much better,'' Myskina said of Sharapova. ``I want to prove that French is not only one tournament I was playing good.''
Myskina, the top-ranked player in Russia, is 2-0 against Sharapova this year. She beat her in three sets at the Australian Open and in straight sets at Indian Wells in March -- both on hardcourts.
``I haven't beaten her yet and I like these kind of challenges,'' Sharapova said. ``She's very consistent, she moves very well and she gets everything back. You have to stay patient. Indian Wells was a terrible day for me. I've become such a more experienced player.''
Myskina and Sharapova won their first Grand Slam titles this year. But they couldn't be more different. Myskina is in her eighth year on the WTA Tour, and frequently mentions being homesick for Russia.
Sharapova came to the United States when she was 7 to pursue her tennis, and is the most Americanized of all the talented Russians who have become a major force in women's tennis.
AP - Jul 29, 11:25 pm EDT
``I think she's more comfortable here,'' Myskina said. ``Her mentality is more American, but she still speaks good Russian. She's still a nice girl. She handles pressure very good.''
But Sharapova sharply rejected a suggestion that she feels American, even though she spends only a few weeks a year in her native country.
``We've had totally different ways of growing up and developing our careers,'' she said. ``Even though I've trained in America, my blood is Russian and no one is going to tell me where I'm from.''
Sharapova raced through the first set in 18 minutes against the overmatched Dulko, who was to play Venus Williams
in the first round. But Williams withdrew because of a right wrist injury before their match, and Dulko beat Tamarine Tanasugarn
and Mary Pierce
to reach the third round.
``I just made it quick,'' Sharapova said. ``I played very solid and I was on a roll even though she served very well. I was able to make some returns and put pressure on her.''
Davenport trails Martinez 8-7 in their career meetings, and the Spaniard won their previous meeting at last year's French Open when Davenport retired with a left foot injury that later required surgery.
Martinez held serve to open the match, then lost seven straight games to fall behind 6-1, 1-0. At 2-2 in the second, Davenport won the final four games, breaking Martinez twice.
``You always have to be more prepared and ready to go against someone you don't have a great record against,'' Davenport said. ``I thought it was going to be tougher than it was. She gave me a lot more errors than she typically does. She never dictated play.'' Davenport has defeated both Serena and Venus Williams in the last two weeks for the first time in four years. She is trying to complete a sweep of the California summer hardcourt tournaments for the first time since 1998, when she went on to win her only U.S. Open title. ``Physically, I feel better now,'' she said. ``The 3-hour match in Stanford (over Venus in the final) was harder to recover from than last week (a straight-set win over Serena in the final). I'm on a good roll. I know this is the best I've played in a long time.''