July 04, 2006Print : Sports
LONDON: China and Russia rubbed salt into the United States’ Wimbledon wounds here on Monday by underlining their status as the emerging superpowers in women’s tennis.
Li Na became the first Chinese player to reach the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam while Russia saw three women make up the last eight with wins for Maria Sharapova, Elena Dementieva and Anastasia Myskina.
America’s last representative in either the women or men’s singles was sent packing when unheralded Shenay Perry lost in straight sets to French qualifier Severine Bremond. Li, the Chinese number one and 27th seed, came from behind to beat the Czech Republic’s Nicole Vaidisova 4-6, 6-1, 6-3 and will now face second seed Kim Clijsters of Belgium for a place in the last four.
The 24-year-old from Wuhan showed that her third round defeat of former US Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova was no fluke and illustrated why she has leapt 40 places in the rankings to a career high 30.
Maria Sharapova struggled with searing 32-degree heat as well as the stubborn resistance of Italy’s Flavia Pennetta to reach the quarter-finals. The 2004 champion toiled for almost two and half hours to overcome the 16th seed 7-6 (7/5), 3-6, 6-3 and now faces Dementieva. Seventh seed Dementieva made sure of a her place in the last eight with a quickfire 6-2, 6-0 win over Perry, ending America’s interest in both singles competitions.
Myskina reached the last eight for the second year in succession beating Serbia’s Jelena Jankovic, the conqueror of defending women’s champion, 6-4, 7-6 (7/5). Meanwhile, Mauresmo was in an unforgiving mood against Serbiaís Ana Ivanovic on Monday, beating her 6-3, 6-4 to reach the quarter-finals.
French Open champion Justine Henin-Hardenne, seeking an elusive title here to complete her Grand Slam collection, steamrolled the feeble challenge of Slovakian 15th seed Daniela Hantuchova 6-3, 6-1 in just 65 minutes.
She next faces Bremond, who continued her extraordinary run by putting out Japanese veteran Ai Sugiyama, the conqueror of Martina Hingis, 7-6 (13/11), 6-3. Clijsters eased through with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Polish wildcard Agnieszka Radwanska.
Men’s 2002 champion Lleyton Hewitt reached the last eight with a 6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 win against Spain’s David Ferrer and next meets Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus, the Australian Open runner-up.