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Second seed Kuznetsova cruises into last eight

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Second seed Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia reached the quarter-finals of the 650,000 dollar (511,000 euro) WTA tournament here on Wednesday beating German Martina Muller in straight sets.

Kuznetsova, ranked fourth in the world, crushed wildcard Muller 6-1, 6-2 to book in her place in the last eight of the tournament where she will face number eight seed Jelena Jankovic or Bulgarian qualifier Tsvetana Pironkova.

Serbian ace Jankovic, 21, defeated France's Mary Pierce 7-6 (9/7), 6-3 in her first round match on Wednesday.

Russian third seed Elena Dementieva fought through cramp to defeat Slovenian Katarina Srebotnik in a three-hour marathon to reach the quarter-finals.

Dementieva, ranked number six in the world, lost the first set 6-4 but battled back to win the second set 7-5 with some thrilling ground strokes.

In a pulsating final set, Dementieva went down with severe cramp while serving for the match at 5-4 and threw her racket on the floor as Srebotnick made it 5-5.

However after an injury time-out for the cramp, Dementieva somehow picked herself up to win 7-5 and reach the last eight where she will face Switzerland's fifth seed Patty Schnyder or Israel's Shahar Peer.

"I had cramp for the first time in my life and I could not believe it," said Dementieva. "It was a great match and I gave everything to win. I have one day off now and that is just what I need."

Daniela Hantuchova, the first Slovak woman to reach the top five in the world rankings back in 2003, booked a mouthwatering second round clash with Russian sixth seed Dinara Safina after defeating Austrian qualifier Sybille Bammer in three sets.

"I have been in bed with a cold for the past few days so I was struggling with breathing in the big rallies," explained Hantuchova. "That is why it is especially nice to win this match."

The 23-year-old Hantuchova, a semi-finalist here last year, won the first set 6-3 at a canter but made countless unforced errors in second as Bammer won it 7-5.

But the Slovak took the decisive set and will now play Safina who survived three match points to defeat Italy's Mara Santangelo in a three-set epic on Tuesday.



AFP 042044 GMT 10 06

COPYRIGHT 2006 Agence France-Presse. All rights reserved.

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