Clijsters, Mauresmo and Capriati advance

Kim Clijsters, Amelie Mauresmo and Jennifer Capriati advance into the quarterfinals of the Italian Open.

updated: February 25, 2007 09:48 IST
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With the season's second Grand Slam little more than a week away, Kim Clijsters, Amelie Mauresmo and Jennifer Capriati showed on Thursday that they are peaking at the right time. Each player won in straight sets to reach the quarterfinals of the $1.3 million Italian Open, a key clay-court tuneup for the French Open, which starts on May 26. The second-seeded Clijsters swept aside Cara Black of Zimbabwe 6-0, 6-3; Mauresmo (No. 4) beat Israel's Anna Pistolesi 6-0, 6-3 and the fifth-seeded Capriati got past Nadia Petrova 7-5, 6-3. Clijsters notched her second straight rout in two days. On Wednesday night, she beat Spain's Virginia Ruano Pascual 6-1, 6-0 in 39 minutes. Against Black, Clijsters unleashed another flurry of blazing groundstrokes and advanced in 55 minutes. Clijsters has reached the semifinals or better in her first seven tournaments this year. On Sunday, she squandered three match points before losing to fellow Belgian Justine Henin-Hardenne in the German Open final. In the run-up to Roland Garros, this was Clijster's 10th consecutive match on clay. Mauresmo beat Pistolesi (No. 16) for the third time in three weeks. The Frenchwoman also came out on top in the Warsaw quarterfinals two weeks ago and the third-round of the Berlin tournament last week. She improved to 4-1 overall against Pistolesi, who was known as Anna Smashnova before marrying former Italian player Claudio Pistolesi in December. Capriati, who got beat by Clijsters in the German Open semifinals, encountered stiffer resistance against Petrova. Earlier on Thursday, four-time champion Conchita Martinez defeated seventh-seeded Daniela Hantuchova 6-3, 6-3. After winning the first set easily, Martinez rallied from an early 0-2 deficit in the second. At one point, the Spanish veteran won nine straight points against Hantuchova. Also on Thursday, eighth-seeded Anastasia Myskina eliminated fellow Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-4, 7-5; 13th-seeded Ai Sugiyama of Japan advanced past Patty Schnyder (No. 17) of Switzerland 6-2, 6-1; and Tina Pisnik of Slovakia rallied past Emilie Loit of France 2-6, 6-4, 6-1. (AP)