DOHA: Agnieszka Radwanska beat an error-prone Ana Ivanovic 6-1, 7-6 (6) to reach the Qatar Open quarterfinals, where she was joined by another former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki yesterday.
The fourth-ranked Radwanska made quick work of the former No. 1 from Serbia in the first set, breaking her four times amid windy conditions. Ivanovic didn’t help her own cause, committing 21 unforced errors and only getting 63 percent of her first serves in.
The second set was much closer, with both players holding serve until Ivanovic broke with a forehand winner to go up 6-5 only to see the Pole break back to force the tiebreak.
Ivanovic was 2-0 in the tiebreak but couldn’t hold her momentum. Radwanska put it away with a lob that Ivanovic hit weakly into the net.
Wind also played havoc in Wozniacki’s 7-6 (6), 6-3 win over Mona Barthel of Germany as they struggled to hold serve.
Wozniacki broke Barthel a second time and was up 5-3 before the German ran off three games to put her on the verge of winning the first set. But the Dane forced the tiebreaker and won it.
Wozniacki settled down in the second set, breaking Barthel twice to go up 5-1. Barthel won the next two games but Wozniacki served out the match.
In Rotterdam, Netherlands, defending champion Roger Federer cruised into the second round of the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament on Wednesday by beating Grega Zemlja 6-3, 6-1.
Federer, a two-time winner at the indoor hard court tournament, had taken a two-week break after losing a grueling five-set semifinal to Andy Murray at the Australian Open and he showed signs of rustiness early against Zemlja.
The Slovenian dropped only one point on his first two service games and then forced two break points on Federer’s serve in the fourth game.
But that was as good as it got for the No. 64-ranked Zemlja. Federer switched up a gear, saved both break points and broke in the next game and again in the ninth game to take the opening set.
The second set was over even quicker, with Federer closing out the match in 58 minutes.
Federer conceded he took a while to get into his stride after his break and get used to the conditions at Ahoy arena.
“Hall play is different. It’s warmer, so the ball flies more and it takes a bit of getting used to,” he said. “The first ones are never easy. But I’m happy to be back and playing well.” Earlier Wednesday, Gilles Simon beat Italian qualifier Matteo Viola 6-3, 6-1 to secure a place in the quarterfinals, and fellow Frenchman Julien Benneteau joined him after a 6-1, 6-3 win over Victor Hanescu.
Marcos Baghdatis reached the second round when Benoit Paire of France retired while trailing 6-0, 6-7 (3), 4-0.
Another French player, fourth-seeded Richard Gasquet beat Viktor Troicki of Serbia 7-6 (3), 6-1 to reach the second round.
Nadal withdraws from doubles
In Sao Paulo, Rafael Nadal withdrew from doubles at the Brazil Open on Wednesday to rest his sore left knee ahead of his opening singles.
Nadal and David Nalbandian of Argentina were to play the final match of the day on center court, but tournament organizers said the duo withdrew because the 11-time Grand Slam winner was concerned about putting too much stress on his knee.
The quarterfinal would have started past 11 p.m. local time and Nadal was scheduled to play his first singles match on Thursday at the Ibirapuera indoor arena in South America’s biggest city.
Organizers said the decision was made after Nadal met with tournament doctors not long before he was to go on court.
Earlier, Nalbandian beat Chilean qualifier Jorge Aguilar 7-5, 5-7, 6-3 in a difficult first-round match. He served 11 aces and broke serve four times to defeat Aguilar in 2 hours, 12 minutes at the clay-court tournament.
Spaniard Albert Montanes got past Paolo Lorenzi of Italy 6-4, 6-4 and Horacio Zeballos of Argentina, who won his first ATP title by beating Nadal last week in Chile, retired because of nausea and fatigue while trailing Paul Capdeville of Chile 6-7 (5), 6-0, 3-0.
Capdeville will play defending champion and second-seeded Nicolas Almagro in the second round on Thursday. Third-seeded Juan Monaco of Argentina will face Italian Simone Bolelli.
Fourth-seeded Jeremy Chardy of France lost 4-6, 6-4, 6-7 (5) to Martin Alund of Argentina in a match that lasted nearly two and a half hours before Nadal was to play.
Nadal, who has a bye in the first round but opened the doubles with a victory on Tuesday, will play Brazilian Joao Souza, who was leading Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo 7-6 (6) when the Spaniard retired because of a right ankle injury.
Nadal reached the singles and doubles finals last week in Chile, his first tournament after more than seven months out to treat his left knee. He lost both finals. Nadal has been saying his knee is improving considerably but admits there are days in which it still hurts and bothers him.