PARIS, Feb 10 (Reuters) - Jelena Dokic let out a huge yelp of delight after outgunning fifth seed Nadia Petrova 6-4 7-6 at the Paris Open on Thursday to book a meeting with Kim Clijsters in the last eight.
The Australian, who has fallen so far from her career-high ranking of number four in 2002 that she had to qualify for the first round, looked the better player throughout on the hardcourt against the 2007 winner.
Belgian top seed Clijsters, who has seen main threat Maria Sharapova of Russia withdraw with a virus, only needs to beat Dokic on Friday to depose Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki as world number one but she can expect a tough encounter.
“I feel good, it’s a great start to the year for me. I’m getting better and better,” Dokic, who surprised last year’s runner-up Lucie Safarova in the first round, said courtside.
“I have nothing to lose against Kim. She’s number two, almost number one in the world, so I’m just going to go out there and enjoy it.”
It was the only mini-shock at the Stade Coubertin, where retired French former world number one Amelie Mauresmo is now tournament director in a bid to boost its profile under the shadow of the more famous French Open and Paris Masters.
Estonian third seed Kaia Kanepi knocked out Sweden’s Sofia Arvidsson 6-3 6-4 with eight-seeded Slovakian Dominika Cibulkova next up in Friday’s quarter-finals.
Fourth seed Petra Kvitova outwitted fellow Czech Barbora Zahlavova Strycova 6-4 6-7 7-6, seventh seed Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium beat another Czech Klara Zakopalova 6-1 6-3 and Andrea Petkovic defeated Kristina Kucova of Slovakia 6-4 6-2.
German number six seed Petkovic will next meet American Bethanie Mattek-Sands, who unveiled another striking black outfit when overwhelming France’s Stephanie Cohen-Aloro 7-5 6-3.
Hewitt advances in tennis Open, Nishikori ousted
SAN JOSE, California (AFP) - Australian seventh seed Lleyton Hewitt rallied to reach the quarter-finals of the 600,000-dollar ATP SAP Open on Thursday while Japanese eighth seed Kei Nishikori was eliminated.
Former world number one Hewitt ousted Argentina’s Brian Dabul 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 in a second-round match. The two-time Grand Slam singles champion reached a last-eight matchup against another Argentine foe, Juan Martin Del Potro.
Del Potro, the 2009 US Open champion, has fallen from fourth to 484th in the rankings with a right wrist injury, but he beat Slovakian Lukas Lacko 6-1, 7-6 (7/1) to book a date with Hewitt, the 2001 US Open and 2002 Wimbledon champion.
Nishikori became the fourth seed to be sent packing, falling to 172nd-ranked US wild card Tim Smyczek 6-4, 3-6, 6-1.
Smyczek will face the winner of a later match between French second seed Gael Monfils, seeking his first title outside Europe, and American Robert Kendrick.
Uzbek fifth seed Denis Istomin advanced to the final eight as well, firing nine aces in eliminating American Michael Russell 7-6 (9/7), 7-6 (7/4).
Istomin put himself in the path of Spanish top seed and defending champion Fernando Verdasco, who was set to meet Croatian Ivo Karlovic in a later second-round match.