Elena Dementieva joined the exodus of top seeds from the China Open when she was upset 7-5, 6-3 by Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska in the quarter-finals.
Dementieva joins seed exodus at China Open
BEIJING // Elena Dementieva joined the exodus of top seeds from the China Open today when she was upset 7-5, 6-3 by Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska in the quarter-finals of the WTA's new crown jewel tournament. The fourth-seeded Dementieva's defeat means none of the world's top five made it through to the semi-finals, and ended her winning streak at the Olympic tennis centre at nine matches. Second seed Novak Djokovic earlier overcame Spain's Fernando Verdasco 6-3, 1-6, 6-1 in the men's quarter-finals to move within one victory of reclaiming the world No 3 ranking.
Dementieva, who won Olympic gold here last year, had cruised to the quarter-finals as other top seeds fell by the wayside but 12th seed Radwanska broke her serve early and never let her settle. The baseliners traded service breaks throughout the match ? there were 10 in all ? and ultimately Dementieva's 27 unforced errors cost her a place in the last four, where Radwanska will meet France's Marion Bartoli or Russia's Vera Zvonareva.
Andy Murray's withdrawal from next week's Shanghai Masters because of a wrist injury means Djokovic just has to reach the final of the US$6.6 million (Dh24.2m) Beijing tournament to move above the Briton in the rankings on October 19. The 22-year-old Serbian conserved his energy through a tricky second set against fifth seed Verdasco before romping to victory in the decider. "I was surprised when (Murray) pulled out of Shanghai but obviously he has some problem with injury," Djokovic said.
"That's tennis. Rankings come and go, we are all quite close and it can turn around at any time." To reach his eighth tour final of the year, Djokovic will have to get past Swede Robin Soderling, who defeated the Croatian Ivan Ljubicic 7-6 6-4. Big-hitting Nadia Petrova ended Chinese Peng Shuai's giant-killing run in the women's draw, winning 6-7, 6-3, 6-2 to succeed where Jelena Jankovic and Maria Sharapova failed earlier in the week.
The Russian, who beat Serena Williams, won despite racking up 27 unforced errors. "It's always difficult to come out the next day with the little rest I had," said Petrova. "I'm very happy to win." The 13th seed always looked like having enough to overpower the gutsy world No 53 and finally brought a close to the 160-minute contest with a huge forehand on her fifth match point. She will next play the 2006 China Open champion and sixth seed Svetlana Kuznetsova, who recorded a 6-3, 6-3 victory over fellow Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
In the first match on centre court, men's eighth seed Marin Cilic beat fourth seed Nikolay Davydenko 6-4, 6-4 to set up a last-four meeting with top seed Rafa Nadal or Marat Safin, who meet later on Friday. * Reuters