MONTREAL — It's still anyone's tournament as the $2 million Rogers Cup enters the home stretch.
Friday's quarterfinals are set and they include a number of tantalizing matchups including a rematch of the French Open quarterfinal between No. 2 seed Caroline Wozniacki and Italy's Francesca Schiavone, the No. 6 seed.
Schiavone advanced Thursday evening with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Russian Dinara Safina, the 2008 Rogers Cup champion. Wozniacki hasn't forgotten the heartbreak that Schiavone caused her at Roland-Garros back in June.
"I'm hoping to get my revenge, that's for sure," said Wozniacki, the top remaining seed.
Schiavone and Safina did battle in the nightcap at Uniprix Stadium's centre court on Thursday. The Italian won the first set 6-4 as Safina's balky serve led to five double faults. The highlight of the second set was a marathon sixth game with Schiavone leading 3-2. The game lasted 20 minutes before a Safina forehand sailed long to put Schiavone up 4-2. The Russian came right back and won her third game before Schiavone took the final two games to earn her first-ever quarterfinal berth in Canada.
Schiavone's upcoming battle against Wozniacki, the world's No. 2 player, will be an evening draw. Wozniacki says she'll make the most of the rest time. The match that got her to the quarters was just what she had expected - a duel with another Italian, Flavia Pennetta.
The battle from opposing baselines lasted for two hours and 15 minutes before the Dane prevailed, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1.
Pennetta, ranked 20th in the world, broke Wozniacki three times in the first set before the 20-year-old favourite righted the ship in the second. Wozniacki broke the Italian early and never relinquished the momentum, setting up a one-sided penultimate set.
Wozniacki was on fire in the final frame, conceding only four points in the first two games and breaking her Italian opponent's serve three times.
But Pennetta's perseverance didn't go unnoticed by the tournament's top remaining seed.
"Flavia is a great player and I've played her before and we've always had tough matches," said Wozniacki, who improves to 4-0 versus Pennetta.
"It was a real tough match today. so I knew when I came out here today that I wasn't going to be easy. I'm just happy that I won."
The Rogers Cup will have a new champion this year following the third-round defeat of Russian Elena Dementieva at the hands of China's Jie Zheng.
Zheng won 7-6 (3), 6-4 as Dementieva, the 2009 champion and World No. 8 player, was unable to capitalize on break points. She was 3-for-11 on the day and
twice had Zheng down 15-40 in first-set games only to lose her lead. The Russian, ranked No. 8 in the world, also committed five double faults and was broken five times.
"It is tough," Dementieva said after the match. "So many missed opportunities in the first set. At 15-40, I could not break her. I give credit to her, she was playing very solid on the baseline, as she usually does."Zheng's win over the fourth-ranked Russian was the second biggest upset of the week. Iveta Benesova of the Czech Republic defeated top-seeded Jelena Jankovic on Tuesday. Zheng will next face off against Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova, who beat No. 7 seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland in three sets, 6-4, 1-6, 6-3.
Other favoured seeds cruised in Thursday's afternoon session. No. 5 seed Kim Clijsters made quick work of unseeded Kaia Kanepi of Estonia, 6-2, 6-1, in one of the shortest matches of the week at 55 minutes. It was a polar opposite to the Belgian's Wednesday evening battle against American Bethanie Mattek-Sands.
That match took two hours 14 minutes before Clijsters prevailed, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3. She'll take on Russian Vera Zvonareva, who advanced by beating unseeded Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan 6-3, 6-3 in a match that lasted only 69 minutes.
Earlier in the day at National Bank Court, Benesova's Cinderella run was stopped in its tracks by France's Marion Bartoli, 6-0, 6-1 in the third-round match.
The 17th-seeded Bartoli needed just one hour nine minutes to topple Benesova, and an overpowering serve made all the difference.
Bartoli recorded nine aces compared with just one for Benesova, who had survived three gruelling qualifying rounds plus an opening-round match before her big upset of Jankovic.
Bartoli squares off Friday against No. 10 seed Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, who dominated Na Li of China 6-3, 6-3.