World no. 1 Caroline Wozniacki led the top 7 seeds into the quarter-finals of the Italian Open. The top-ranked Dane beat Belgian Yanina Wickmayer 6-1, 7-6 to set up a quarter-final with 5th seed Jelena Jankovic, a 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 win over Spain's Anabel Medina Garrigues.
Jankovic won this title in 2007 and 2008 and reached the finals last year, beating Serena and Venus Williams on the way. The Serb leads Wozniacki in their head-to-head, 4-2, but Wozniacki has won both of their 2011 meetings, and in straight sets as well.
Third seed Victoria Azarenka and seventh seed Maria Sharapova set up a noisy quarter-final with wins on Thursday. Azarenka, aiming for her 4th final in her last 5 events, needed three tough sets to get past Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 64 46 62 while Sharapova was a 6-2, 6-2 winner over Shahar Peer.
Azarenka leads Sharapova in their head-to-head series, 3-2, and has won their last two in straight sets, including in the final of Miami six weeks ago. Local favourite Francesca Schiavone and Aussie Sam Stosur set up a rematch of their French Open final last year.
Schiavone, seeded No.2 this week, needed two and a half hours to get past Daniela Hantuchova, 36 62 75 while Stosur was a straight sets winner over Slovenian qualifier Polona Hercog, 63 64. Stosur leads Schiavone in their head-to-head series, 5-3.
In the last quarterfinal, fourth seed seed Li Na will face Greta Arn. Li defeated Jarmila Gajdosova in just 64 minutes, 62 61, while Arn won a three-hour, 10-minute marathon against Elena Vesnina, 36 76(3) 76(3). The Hungarian Arn, at 32 playing the best tennis of her career, fought back from 5-3 deficits in the second and third sets, saving two matchpoints on the way.
Arn also saved four match points in a marathon victory over No.11 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova earlier this week. INTERNAZIONALI BNL D'ITALIA
Rome, Italy - Thursday, May 12, 2011 Singles - Third Round
(1) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) d.
Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) 61 76(4)
(2) Francesca Schiavone (ITA) d. Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) 36 62 75
(3) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) d. (16) Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) 64 46 62
(4) Li Na (CHN) d. Jarmila Gajdosova (AUS) 62 61
(5) Jelena Jankovic (SRB) d.
(Q) Anabel Medina Garrigues (ESP) 64 26 62
(6) Samantha Stosur (AUS) d. (Q) Polona Hercog (SLO) 63 64
(7) Maria Sharapova (RUS) d. (10) Shahar Peer (ISR) 62 62
Greta Arn (HUN) d. Elena Vesnina (RUS) 36 76(3) 76(3)