Clijsters, Ivanovic ease into US Open last 16

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Defending champion Kim Clijsters advanced to a fourth-round matchup with fellow former world number one Ana Ivanovic at the US Open on Friday while third seed V

Updated: September 04, 2010 09:59 IST
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New York :

Defending champion Kim Clijsters advanced to a fourth-round matchup with fellow former world number one Ana Ivanovic at the US Open on Friday while third seed Venus Williams also rolled into the last 16.

Belgian second seed Clijsters struggled briefly before winning the last 12 games to defeat Wimbledon semi-finalist Petra Kvitova 6-3, 6-0 while Ivanovic won the last nine games to oust French wildcard Virginie Razzano 7-5, 6-0.

US third seed Williams, with injured world number one sister Serena watching from the stands, ripped Luxembourg's Mandy Minella 6-2, 6-1 in 74 minutes to book a fouth-round matchup against Israel's Shahar Peer.

French Open champion Francesca Schiavone, the sixth seed from Italy, and French Open runner-up Samantha Stosur, the fifth seed from Australia, also advanced with straight-set triumphs.

Stosur beat Italy's 37th-ranked Sara Errani 6-2, 6-3, while Schiavone ousted Ukraine's 29th-seeded Alona Bondarenko 6-1, 7-5 and 16th seed Peer eliminated Italy's Flavia Pennetta 6-4, 6-4.

Clijsters ousted the 27th-seeded Czech in 62 minutes for her 17th victory in a row on the Flushing Meadows hardcourts as brisk winds whipped across Arthur Ashe Stadium with Hurricane Earl passing southwest of the area.

"I just had to adjust and get used to the wind. It was tough," Clijsters said. "I was glad after those first three games I could get my serve going.

"When you don't have that full confidence on your serve and you have the wind interfering with what your ball does, it's never that easy. You just have to go back to the basics, really focus and maybe not go for it as much."

Clijsters, trying to become the first back-to-back US Open women's champion since Venus Williams in 2001, won her only Grand Slam titles on the New York hardcourts in 2005 and 2009.

But injuries and a two-year hiatus to start a family kept her from the US Open in between her titles, giving her the impressive win streak that looked to be in jeopardy at the start.

Kvitova broke Clijsters twice for a 3-0 lead after 11 minutes, inspring memories of her US Open upset of top seed Dinara Safina last year before the 30-year-old Belgian roared to victory.

"I felt myself progressing throughout the match, so that's a good feeling," Clijsters said. "I feel like I'm close. It's only a matter of a few little details in my game that I want to improve.

"A match like this probably gives me more satisfaction because I beat a good player without even playing my best tennis."

Williams battled the wind in a night match but breezed through as well.

"It's pretty windy down here so it's important to stay focused on every shot," she said.

Ivanovic, the 2008 French Open champion who has slid to 40th in the rankings, needed only 66 minutes to advance and equal her top US Open showing from 2007.

"I really feel I'm playing a lot better, sort of things are starting to come back, come together out on the court as well, so I'm really thrilled about that," Ivanovic said.

"It has been tough. But I'm really happy I managed to stay strong in those times and just push through it, work hard and actually believe I can do it."

Schiavone made a stunning between-the-legs running from the net shot in the 10th game of the second set on the way to holding at love, broke Bondarenko in the next game and held at love to complete an 88-minute triumph.

"Is nothing programmed. Is just instinct. Is art," Schiavone said. "Is something that's coming from inside and you have just to take in a good timing otherwise the ball fly."

Schiavone will next play Russian 20th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who ousted Argentina's Gisela Dulko 6-1, 6-2. Stosur next plays Russian 12th seed Elena Dementieva, who downed Slovakian 24th seed Daniela Hantuchova 7-5, 6-2.

"I'm playing well, I'm hitting the ball well and I think I have got a good chance," Stosur said.

The 26-year-old from Brisbane won both prior meetings with Errani, including a second-round match last week at New Haven in the last US Open tuneup, where Errani had four match points in a third-set tie-breaker.

"She's tough. She fights you on every point," Stosur said. "I didn't want to go down the same path I did last week."

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