Wozniacki, Azarenka roll in Rome

SPORTS NETWORK

, Last Updated: 10:49 PM ET

ROME - World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki, French Open champion and heavy Italian crowd favorite Francesca Schiavone and former top- ranked star Maria Sharapova landed in the quarterfinals at the $2.05 million Internazionali d'Italia tennis event.

Wozniacki snuck past 24th-ranked Belgian slugger Yanina Wickmayer 6-1, 7-6 (7-4) in 1 hour, 48 minutes to set-up a quarterfinal bout with former No. 1 and 2010 Rome runner-up Jelena Jankovic, who's also a two-time champion here.

The second-seeded Schiavone was forced to come back in order to beat Slovakian veteran Daniela Hantuchova 3-6, 6-2, 7-5 at Foro Italico. The gritty Italian needed 2 hours, 39 minutes to prevail on Day 4.

Up next for Schiavone will be sixth-seeded Aussie Samantha Stosur, who handled Slovenian qualifier Polona Hercog 6-3, 6-4 at this clay-court event. Schiavone beat the big-serving Stosur in last year's surprise French Open finale.

The seventh-seeded three-time major champion Sharapova, meanwhile, leveled 10th-seeded Israeli Shahar Peer 6-2, 6-2 in 70 minutes. The tall Russian piled up five service breaks in the easy victory.

Sharapova should have her hands full with surging Belarusian Victoria Azarenka on Friday. A third-seeded Azarenka won Thursday's nightcap with a hard-fought 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 victory over 16th-seeded Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, which took 2 hours, 16 minutes to complete.

The 21-year-old Azarenka was last week's Madrid runner-up to rising Czech lefthander Petra Kvitova and has won 18 of her last 20 matches, including titles in Miami and Marbella.

Fourth-seeded Chinese Li Na leveled Aussie Jarmila Gajdosova 6-2, 6-1 in 64 minutes and a fifth-seeded Jankovic outlasted Spanish qualifier Anabel Medina Garrigues 6-4, 2-6, 6-2. Li was the Australian Open runner-up back in January. The Serbian Jankovic was the 2007 and 2008 Rome champion and last year's runner-up to Spaniard Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez.

Three current or former No. 1s were on Thursday's schedule in Rome.

Another third-round result saw Hungarian Greta Arn overcome Russian Elena Vesnina 3-6, 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-3) in 3 hours, 10 minutes. Arn will encounter Li in the round of eight.

This week's winner will collect $360,000.


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