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Hantuchova dumps Venus at Eastbourne
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 17 - 06 - 2011

EASTBOURNE: Venus Williams will be restricted to the practice courts as she continues her preparation for Wimbledon after she was beaten 6-2, 5-7, 6-2 by Daniela Hantuchova in the quarterfinals at Eastbourne Thursday.
Her defeat came a day after the dismissal of Serena Williams by the top-seeded Vera Zvonareva as the sisters both return from lengthy injury breaks. However, Venus said she heads to Wimbledon with plenty of confidence as she targets a sixth title at the All England Club. The tournament begins Monday.
Hantuchova advances to a semifinal against fifth-seeded Petra Kvitova, who beat Agnieszka Radwanska 1-6, 6-2, 7-6 (2).
Zvonareva failed to follow up her win over Serena Williams and was defeated 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-4 by seventh-seeded Sam Stosur. It was the Australian's seventh straight win over her Russian opponent.
Stosur will meet the sixth-seeded Marion Bartoli in the semifinals Friday. Bartoli advanced when Victoria Azarenka retired with a right groin injury while trailing 6-2, 2-0.
Hantuchova dominated a listless Venus in the first set, serving well, playing aggressively and showing confidence in going for the lines. The former No. 5-ranked Slovak broke in the third game after Venus double-faulted and then made a backhand error, and she broke again to lead 5-2 with a superbly struck backhand pass.
Venus offered a brief challenge as Hantuchova served for the set but failed to convert three break points before Hantuchova closed the set with a crosscourt winner.
The American, playing her first event since retiring with hip and abdominal injuries during the Australian Open in January, first faced defeat as Hantuchova held a break point in the second set to lead 5-3.
But Hantuchova hit a ball down the line that landed wide, and Venus went on to break for 4-4 when her return clipped the net and fell in her favor. Venus then broke to love for the set when Hantuchova netted a weak backhand. With both players battling a strong wind, Hantuchova regained the upper hand in the final set, breaking for 1-0.
Venus made a brief revival, leveling at 2-2 before Hantuchova swept the next four games.
In the men's event, third-seeded Serb Janko Tipsarevic defeated Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov 6-3, 7-6 (2), Igor Kunitsyn of Russia beat Julien Benneteau of France 6-3, 6-2, Italy's Andreas Seppi outlasted Olivier Rochus of Belgium 6-2, 6-7 (5), 6-3 and Japan's Kei Nishikori overcame Czech Radek Stepanek 6-2, 6-3.
Vinci beats Wickmayer
In the Netherlands, Roberta Vinci beat third-seeded Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium 6-4, 6-4 in their quarterfinal Thursday a rain-plagued day at the Unicef Open grass-court tournament.
Showers throughout the day forced the postponement of several quarterfinal matches and others were abandoned and will be completed Friday. In matches that were completed Thursday, Jelena Dokic beat Johanna Larsson of Sweden 7-6 (2), 6-4, and Romina Oprandi, who ousted Kim Clijsters in the second round, beat Kimiko Date-Krumm 7-6 (3), 6-4.
In the only men's quarterfinal to finish before rain washed out play for good, fourth-seeded Ivan Dodig of Croatia beat Teymuraz Gabashvili 2-6, 6-1, 6-2. Second-seeded Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova will resume her quarterfinal against Dominika Cibulkova 0-3 down in the final set after the fifth-seeded Slovak broke her serve twice as rain closed in Thursday evening.


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