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August 28, 2009

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Home » Sports » Tennis

Davydenko, Verdasco through but Kuznetsova made to work

NIKOLAY Davydenko and Fernando Verdasco won through to the quarterfinals of the Pilot Pen tournament in New Haven, Connecticut, with straight-set victories on Wednesday.

Top-seeded Davydenko beat French veteran Fabrice Santoro 7-5, 6-3 while second seed Verdasco of Spain overcame Italy's Andreas Seppi 7-6 (3) 6-2.

Russia's Davydenko will face Sam Querrey in the quarterfinals, after the big-serving American downed Germany's Bjorn Phau 7-5, 6-3.

The victory meant Querrey secured the US Open Series title, awarded for performance over the lead-up tournaments to the year's last grand slam.

The title gives Querrey a chance to earn a bonus of between US$15,000 and US$1 million, to be determined by his finish at the US Open.

"The most pressure I felt all summer was probably today, knowing that if I won it, I would win (the series) and if I didn't it was third place," he said.

Verdasco said he had problems with the lights early, falling behind 1-3 in the first set. He got better as the match went on, and was pleased he did not lose momentum during two rain delays, and came with him up 3-1 and 4-1 in the second set.

"I was just giving my 100 percent to try to finish the match as soon as possible," he said. "I really played good those three last games."

Verdasco's opponent in the last eight will be Austria's Jurgen Melzer, who rallied to beat Romanian Victor Hanescu 7-6 (5), 4-6, 6-1.

The other quarterfinals will see seventh-seeded Igor Andreev of Russia take on Argentina's Leonardo Mayer while unseeded pair Jose Acasuso of Argentina and France's Florent Serra also advanced to a quarters clash.

In the women's draw, top-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova needed a third-set tiebreaker to beat teenager Yanina Wickmayer 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 (2).

The French Open champion seemed to be cruising after taking a 5-4 lead in the second with a match point on Wickmayer's serve.

But the 19-year-old rallied to claim the set and level the match. The Belgian then broke Kuznetsova in the seventh game of the third set and was serving for the match but the Russian came up with two big returns to break back, then dominated the tiebreaker.

Kuznetsova acknowledged that she let her concentration lag at times, and said she sometimes needs to have her back against the wall before she plays her best tennis.

"I still have it, so I appreciate that I have it, but I have to work on closing out things when I have the chance to," she said.

Kuznetsova will play Amelie Mauresmo next.

Caroline Wozniacki, the defending champion, dispatched Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia 6-1, 6-4, and the Dane will next face France's Virginie Razzano who advanced when fifth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland retired with a hand injury with their match at a set all.

Italian No. 3 Flavia Pennetta beat Iveta Benesova 7-6(1), 6-4 and will face Slovakia's Magdalena Rybarikova in the last eight. Russia's Elena Vesnina won 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 over Australia's Samantha Stosur and will take on compatriot Anna Chakvetadze in the quarterfinals.


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