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Serena Williams enters quarterfinals
Updated: 2004-09-23 08:56

Top-seeded Serena Williams struggled Wednesday, beating Russia's Dinara Safina 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 to reach the China Open quarterfinals.

Champion Maria Sharapova had an easier time, routing fellow Russian Tatiana Panova 6-1, 6-1 to also advance to the final eight.

Williams dominated the first set with strong groundstrokes, but Safina surged ahead in the second by twice breaking serve. Safina was hurt in the third set by double-faults, including one that put her behind 5-3. Williams promptly served out the match.

Safina was "really just hitting balls very hard, right on the line," Williams said. "But once I got used to it in the third set, I was able to get back."

Sharapova, seeded third, wrapped up the first set in less than 20 minutes.

"I think that the fast court sort of suited my game better," she said. "I just had to go out and play my game, and that's what I did."

In other second-round matches, fifth-seeded Nadia Petrova of Russia defeated Zheng Jie of China 6-2, 6-2; sixth-seeded Gisela Dulko of Argentina defeated Maria Vento-Kabchi of Venezuela 6-4, 6-4; and seventh-seeded Jelena Jankovic of Serbia-Montenegro rallied past Shinobu Asagoe of Japan 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (5).

Thailand's Tamarine Tanasugarn, who ousted eighth-seeded Jelena Dokic in the first round, lost to Spain's Anabel Medina Garrigues 6-4, 6-4.

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