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Russian quartet march into quarters

Matthew Cronin | July 30, 2004 13:02 IST

French Open champion Anastasia Myskina led four Russians into the quarter-finals of the $1.3 million Acura Classic on Thursday.

Third seed Myskina demolished American Chanda Rubin 6-1, 6-2 and was joined in the last eight by fellow countrywomen Maria Sharapova, Elena Dementieva and Vera Zvonareva.

Wimbledon champion Sharapova crushed Argentina's Gisela Dulko 6-0, 6-1 while fifth seed Dementieva eased past compatriot Elena Likhovtseva 6-2, 7-6. Number 12 seed Zvonareva put out Russian teenager Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-2, 6-3.

Zvonareva earned a rematch of last week's quarter-final in nearby Carson against top seed Serena Williams, who raced past Russia's Elena Bovina 6-4, 6-2.

"I played really well today," said Zvonareva, who lost in three sets to Williams in Carson.

"I was pretty offensive. I'm looking forward to another good match against Serena," she told reporters.

Williams, who has not won a title since March and has struggled on hard courts this year, kept hitting the chalk from the baseline against Bovina.

"It boiled down to who could hold serve and I felt my serve carried me today," Williams said.


"It's the best I've played in the last few weeks. It's baby steps and I'm going to get there."

Myskina and Sharapova will meet on Friday for the third time this year but it will be the first occasion they have played each other since winning Grand Slam titles. Myskina beat the red-hot 17-year-old in the Australian Open and at Indian Wells.

"I'm playing well but she's confident right now," Myskina said. "She's improved her first serve, second serve and groundstrokes.

"I think she can play rallies now. She has definitely improved a lot because she won Wimbledon."

Sharapova rarely missed a ball against Dulko, cracking big serves, powerful returns and controlling the rallies.

"I just made it quick," Sharapova said. "I played very solid and took it to her from the start."

But the teenager knows it will be more difficult to push around Myskina.

"It's going to be a very big test because I haven't beaten her yet," Sharapova said.

"I've done pretty well in the past few weeks. It's not always easy coming back from a Wimbledon win, and now I'm going to play a top seed on a hard court.

"I'm very much looking forward to it."

Dementieva will take on unseeded American Amy Frazier, who defeated Australian Alicia Molik 6-3, 6-4.

Third seed Lindsay Davenport overwhelmed Conchita Martinez of Spain 6-1, 6-2 in 46 minutes.

The American, who is coming off back-to-back title triumphs at nearby Stanford and Carson, now meets ninth seed Ai Sugiyama of Japan.

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