Monday, January 26, 2004

Raymond rolls into quarters

Australian Open women: Clijsters, Myskina advance, will meet

Enquirer news services

MELBOURNE, Australia - Lisa Raymond followed her upset over Venus Williams with an easy victory, defeating wild-card entry Tatiana Golovin 6-2, 6-0 Monday to reach the Australian Open quarterfinals.

The 25th-seeded Raymond equaled her best performance in 44 previous Grand Slam tournaments. She reached the quarters at Wimbledon in 2000.

"It would have been pretty easy for me to have the letdown after playing so well against Venus," Raymond said. "I just went out there and just kept playing the way I've been playing. I was able to play well, so I felt good about how I handled the situation."

Second-seeded Kim Clijsters joined her in the quarterfinals with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Silvia Farina Elia.

Clijsters will play sixth-seeded Anastasia Myskina of Russia, who rallied for a 6-7 (3), 6-2, 6-2 win over ninth-seeded Chanda Rubin.

Myskina also beat Rubin in the fourth round at the Australian last year before losing to Clijsters in the quarterfinals.

Raymond won the last 11 points of her match. She made the most of her French opponent's 22 errors, including a double fault on break point in the opening game of the second set.

At 30, Raymond has won four singles titles on the tour and 42 doubles championships. She has won three Grand Slam women's doubles titles, but lost with Martina Navratilova in the second round at this event.

"I haven't really played my best tennis in the Grand Slams. For me to be able to play this kind of tennis here in Australia is great," Raymond said.

Golovin, who celebrated her 16th birthday on Sunday, had only one win on the WTA Tour before arriving at Melbourne Park. She was ranked No. 354 coming into the season's first major.

Golovin earned $58,000 for reaching the fourth round.

"My goal was to get one or two rounds, so it's great I lost in the fourth," she said. "I'm a little disappointed in my match. I wasn't moving very well and I had to play my best tennis against her if I wanted to win, and it didn't really happen."

Raymond produced the upset of the first week when she beat third-seeded Williams in straight sets in the third round. Raymond hadn't won a set off the four-time Grand Slam winner in three matches.

Clijsters dropped serve once in each set against Elia but was otherwise happy with her progress from an injured ankle.

"I felt good out there, very lucky to complete this week, but I'm playing really well," she said.

TOP SEEDS ROLL: Sunday's women's play held form. Top-ranked Justine Henin-Hardenne advanced with a 6-1, 7-6 (5) victory over Italian qualifier Mara Santangelo. Henin-Hardenne's quarterfinal opponent is 2000 champion Lindsay Davenport, who beat No. 11 Vera Zvonareva 6-1, 6-3.

Amelie Mauresmo beat Australia's Alicia Molik 7-5, 7-5, ensuring she'll rise to a career-high No. 3 in the WTA Tour rankings.

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