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Mauresmo sends Ivanovic packing

FORMER world No. 1 Amelie Mauresmo upset top seed Ana Ivanovic 6-3, 6-2 to advance to the semifinals of the Brisbane International yesterday.

Mauresmo, who has slipped down the rankings since she won the Australian Open and Wimbledon titles in 2006, dominated the world No. 5 and sealed victory in 67 minutes.

Ivanovic, who was briefly the world's top ranked player last year, has struggled in Brisbane and her performances have placed question marks over her Australian Open credentials.

The 21-year-old, who lost last year's final at Melbourne Park to Maria Sharapova, saved two match points in her match against Italian qualifier Roberta Vinci on Wednesday and also struggled in her first match against Petra Kvitova.

"I was pretty happy with my first two matches," she told reporters. "I played really well the first one and (against Vinci) I dug really deep and it gave me a lot of confidence.

"I didn't have much time to recover ... and I didn't have the energy to dig deep again.

"In Melbourne I'm going to be practicing and playing lots of sparring. I just have to get more consistent and work more on my serve."

The 23rd-ranked Mauresmo said she felt she was finally starting to show glimpses of the form that propelled her to the top of the rankings and was aiming to re-enter the top-10.

"It feels great," Mauresmo said. "I'm very proud of the way I played today from the first one to the last."

She will now meet third-seeded compatriot Marion Bartoli who outclassed Italy's Tathiana Garbin 6-3, 6-3.

In the men's draw, third seed Fernando Verdasco of Spain came from a set down and needed almost two hours to beat France's Florent Serra 4-6, 6-0, 6-3.

In India, third-seeded Croatian Marin Cilic roared into the quarterfinals of the Chennai Open with a clinical display yesterday, while twice former champion Carlos Moya was stunned by Indian wildcard Somdev Devvarman.

World No. 27 Cilic dismantled Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan 6-0, 6-4 in just over an hour in the second round after baseliner Devvarman pulled off a spectacular victory over the former world No. 1.

The 23-year-old Devvarman, who is based in the United States, produced an inspired display to triumph 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 in two hours 14 minutes in hot conditions to move into his second ATP tour quarterfinal.

Sixth seed Moya won the first set comfortably but Devvarman, who spent his formative years in Chennai, delighted the partisan crowd when he grabbed the second.

Cilic will play seventh seed Serbian Janko Tipsarevic next. Devvarman will meet the big-serving Croatian Ivo Karlovic.

In New Zealand, Olympic champion Elena Dementieva marched into the semifinals of the Auckland Classic. The top seed was largely untroubled during a 6-3, 6-1 win over fifth-seeded Israeli Shahar Peer and will now meet Aravane Rezai.

About 20 peace activists had staged a noisy protest outside the venue against Israel's invasion of the Gaza Strip.

Peer was defiant about the protests that had dogged her all week. "I'm not the government of Israel and I'm not representing Israel as a politician," she said. "I'm a tennis player and that's what I represent now."


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