Clijsters, Schiavone reach US Open quarter-finals

New York: Defending champion Kim Clijsters and reigning French Open champion Francesca Schiavone advanced to the US Open quarter-finals with straight-set routs on Sunday.

Belgian second seed Clijsters needed only 59 minutes to eliminate Serbian former world number one Ana Ivanovic 6-2, 6-1 for her 18th victory in a row on the Flushing Meadows hardcourts, her 2005 and 2009 titles flanking a hiatus.

Clijsters reached her fifth US Open quarter-final and 17th career Grand Slam quarter-final by quickly adapting to breezy conditions.

“I think you automatically do well in places where you have done well and you feel good,” Clijsters said.

“With the wind you have to adjust. I started moving forward, dictating the points better. I was playing good defense as well.”

Italian sixth seed Schiavone ousted 20th-seeded Russian teen Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-3, 6-0 in 68 minutes, matching her best US Open showing from 2003 in a year that also saw her win her first Slam in June on Paris clay.

“It’s very special,” Schiavone said. “I’m very lucky to play so well again in a tournament like this. I feel better with my touch.”

Clijsters will next face the winner of a night match between Australian fifth seed Samantha Stosur, seeking her first US Open quarter-final berth, and Russian 12th seed Elena Dementieva.

Schiavone will play for a berth in the semi-finals against the winner of a later match between US third seed Venus Williams, a seven-time Grand Slam champion, and Israeli 16th seed Shahar Peer.

Clijsters, hoping to be the first US Open women’s champion to repeat since Williams in 2001, last year became the first mother to win a Grand Slam singles crown since Australian Evonne Goolagong Cawley in 1980 at Wimbledon.

“It becomes easier,” Clijsters said. “(Daughter) Jada is 2 1/2 now. She understands I’m going to practice or I have a match when I leave.”

Former world number one Ivanovic has struggled since winning the 2008 French Open title, having not reached a Grand Slam quarter-final since and missing out Sunday on a chance for her first US Open quarter-final.

Clijsters broke for a 3-1 edge, then exchanged breaks in the next two games before breaking the Serbian to conclude the first set in 31 minutes.

She then broke Ivanovic’s first two service games of the second set for a 4-0 edge. The Serb broke back but double faulted away a break to give Clijsters a 5-1 edge and the Belgian held for the victory.

Ivanovic, 22, was forced to retire from a Cincinnati semi-final against Clijsters last month after only three games due to a left foot injury. Clijsters, 27, also won their only other meeting in 2007 at Antwerp.

Pavlyuchanokva, 19, had never reached the fourth round of a Slam before but made 29 unforced errors and dropped the last seven games to doom her chances of advancement.

Schiavone broke Pavlyuchenkova’s first service game for 2-0 lead and held out from there, winning the final seven games.

Bureau Report