Seles cruises into quarters

Fourth seed Monica Seles of the US lived up to expectations to cruise to a 6-3, 6-2 win over Francesca Schiavone to become the first one to enter the quarterfinals of the Dubai Duty Free Women’s Open at the Dubai Tennis Stadium yesterday.

Seles, a semifinalist here last year before falling to eventual winner Amelie Mauresmo, looked to be in command as she waited for a double fault from her Italian opponent in the eighth game to go clear 5-3. Seles then kept her serve to wrap up the set 6-3 in less than half an hour.

The initial part of the second set went very much the same as the first with both players tied 2-2. But a hasty forehand into the net cost Schiavone dear as Seles went ahead 3-2 and never looked back after that as she held serve to lead 4-2.

Not one to relax, Seles broke Schiavone yet again and then held serve to win the set 6-2 in exactly one hour and enter the quarter-finals.

“She’s a pretty tricky customer,” Seles said of her Italian opponent.

“I’m still not at my best, but I think I was much steadier in the later part of the game and that eventually helped me a bit,” the fourth seeded player said.

Seles will now await the winner of the second round match between Magdalena Maleeva and Iroda Tulyaganova.