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Peng powers into last eight at Pattaya Open

FIFTH-SEEDED Peng Shuai of China became the first player to reach the quarterfinals of the WTA's Pattaya Open with a 7-6 (4), 6-0 second round victory over Galina Voskoboeva of Kazakhstan yesterday.

Peng, ranked No. 35, took some time to come to grips with her opponent's game but found momentum in the latter part of the match, advancing to the last eight for the second time in this event at the Thai beach city.

"I've never played her so the first set was a bit tough for me," said Peng, who reached the Pattaya semifinals in 2007. "After 6-6 I fought hard to win the tie-break and in the second set I knew her game and hit harder."

Coached by Tarik Benhabiles, a former coach of Andy Roddick, Peng will likely meet top seed and world No. 5 Vera Zvonareva of Russia in the quarterfinals. Zvonareva was to play Kazakhstan's Yaroslava Shvedova in the second round.

In the first round, eighth-seeded Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia survived a tough challenge from 38-year-old Kimiko Date Krumm of Japan to emerge with a 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 win after two hours, 13 minutes.

Krumm, a former world No. 4 who came back on the tour after a 12-year retirement, appeared to have leg problems in the final set, and was seen in tears after the match.

In Rotterdam, Briton Andy Murray regained his winning form as he eased past Croatia's Ivan Ljubicic 6-3, 6-2 in the first round of the ABM Amro Open on Tuesday.

Murray had an excellent start to the season, winning two warm-up events in the run-up to the Australian Open, but his bid for a first grand slam title was stalled by Fernando Verdasco in the fourth round at Melbourne Park.

On Tuesday, he was back to his best. Ljubicic, finalist in Rotterdam in 2005 and 2007, only kept up with Murray the first six games before he dropped his serve in the eighth game and lost eight games in a row.

Murray was joined in the second round by fifth seed Gael Monfils and sixth seed David Ferrer.

Monfils got an easy ride as he was leading 6-4, 1-0 when his Swiss opponent Stephane Bohli retired injured.

Spain's Ferrer edged past Austria's Juergen Melzer 3-6, 7-6 (4), 7-5.

In San Jose, California, top seed Andy Roddick began his bid for a fourth SAP Open title with a 6-0, 7-6 (3) opening-round victory over Swedish qualifier Michael Ryderstedt on Tuesday.

Fifth-seeded American Mardy Fish also won in straight sets, against Australian Lleyton Hewitt 7-6 (5), 6-3.


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