Safin, Clijsters in Sydney quarters

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Updated: February 25, 2007 09:48 IST
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Top-seeded Marat Safin dropped a set before overcoming Finland's Jarkko Nieminen 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 on Wednesday and advancing to the quarterfinals of the Sydney International. The world No. 3, a finalist at the Australian Open last year, expended a lot of energy in the heat during the first set, mixing a baseline game with some rushes to the net. The Russian reverted to his strong serve and ground strokes to overpower Nieminen and win the second-round encounter, taking the second set in 25 minutes and closing in the third with a service winner on match point. Juan Carlos Ferrero, seeded second, had a 6-3, 6-2 win over Russian Mikhail Youzhny, and will meet rising Thai star Paradorn Srichaphan in the quarterfinals. Ferrero, ranked No. 4 last year, served five aces and produced 18 winners, while Youzhny had 43 unforced errors and only 11 winners. Srichaphan, playing his second match in 18 hours since arriving from his Indian Open triumph in Madras, rallied to defeat Max Mirnyi of Belarus 3-6, 6-4, 6-4. Germany's Rainer Schuettler ousted eighth-seeded Gaston Gaudio of Argentina 6-7 (5), 6-2, 7-5. In the women's draw, second-seeded Kim Clijsters needed just 56 minutes to beat Patty Schnyder 6-1, 6-3. Clijsters converted half of her 10 break-point opportunities and fired 21 winners, almost three-times more than her Swiss rival. The 19-year-old Belgian advanced to a quarterfinal against Chanda Rubin, a 6-1, 6-3 winner over Alexandra Stevenson in an all-American match. Clijsters defeated Rubin and Venus Williams before upsetting world No. 1 Serena Williams to win the season-ending WTA Championships last November. Third-seeded Justine Henin opened her year with a 6-1, 6-0 demolition of Janette Husarova in 52 minutes. Henin will meet South African veteran Amanda Coetzer, a 6-4, 6-1 winner over Magdaleena Maleeva, in the quarterfinals. Olga Barabanchschikova of Belarus defeated Elena Bovina 7-6 (1), 6-2 and moved into a quarterfinal with another Russian, Tatiana Panova, who ousted top-seeded Jennifer Capriati in the second round. (AP)

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