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Thursday, February 03, 2005

Maria reach Tokyo quarters

Tokyo, Japan (Sports Network) - Russian Grand Slam champions Maria Sharapova and Svetlana Kuznetsova were a pair of second-round winners Wednesday at the $1.3 million Toray Pan Pacific Open. The second-seeded Sharapova breezed past Venezuelan Maria Vento-Kabchi 7-6 (7-3), 6-0. The Wimbledon champion Sharapova won the Japan Open here in Tokyo last year.

Maria Sharapova

Meanwhile, the third-seeded Kuznetsova, last year's U.S. Open titlist, drubbed Swiss Marie-Gayanay Mikaelian 6-3, 6-1 to secure her berth in the quarterfinals. Sharapova awaits the Elena Likhovtseva-Jill Craybas winner, while Kuznetsova will face the Daniela Hantuchova-Maria Kirilenko victor in the quarters. In first-round action, wild card Aiko Nakamura topped qualifier Ryoko Fuda 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 in an all-Japanese encounter; Akiko Morigami of Japan beat Spaniard Maria Sanchez Lorenzo 6-4, 6-1 to set-up a second-round matchup with French and U.S. Open runner-up Elena Dementieva of Russia; and Craybas snuck past Russian Tatiana Panova 6-4, 4-6, 7-5. Top-seeded and two-time defending Pan Pacific champion Lindsay Davenport of the U.S. will open defense of her titles with a second-round match against Japan's Saori Obata here on Thursday. Davenport is fresh off her runner-up finish at the Australian Open. The 2005 Pan Pacific Open winner will collect $189,000.

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