Safina shows Russian women the way in Madrid
Dinara Safina continued the blistering form that lifted her to the top of the WTA world rankings last month with a confident straight-sets victory over China`s Li Na in Madrid.
The world No.1 needed a tie break to seal a 6-3, 7-6 (7-2) victory on Wednesday night, her victory coming on a day that saw three Russian seeds crash out. Sixth-seed Svetlana Kuznetsova, losing finalist against Safina in Rome on Saturday, fell in the second round to Ukraine`s Alona Bondarenko, and there were also disappointing third-round defeats for Elena Dementieva and Nadia Petrova.
The No. 3 seed cruised through the first set against Amelie Mauresmo of France but faded to lose 6-1, 4-6, 2-6 while eighth-seed Petrova lost a tight three-setter with Swiss Patty Schnuder 4-6, 7-6 (7-2), 6-7 (5-7).
Russian qualifier Vera Dushevina is through to the fourth round, however, after overcoming Italy`s stubborn Francesca Schiavone 6-3, 4-6, 6-2.
Safina plays Czech outsider Lucie Safarova, ranked 50 in the WTA list, on Thursday afternoon for a place in the fourth round.
In the men`s draw, Russian 10th-seed Nikolai Davydenko faces a potentially explosive third-round match against Andy Roddick of the United States after sailing past Frenchman Florent Serra 7-5, 6-3 on Wednesday.