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Schiavone, Kuznetsova advance in Dubai
Francesca Schiavone and Svetlana Kuznetsova played a 4 hours, 44 minutes marathon at the Australian Open.
Dubai: Grand Slam winners Francesca Schiavone and Svetlana Kuznetsova won their second-round matches at the Dubai Championships on Wednesday, setting up their first clash since an epic match at the Australian Open.
Schiavone defeated Chinese qualifier Zhang Shuai 6-3, 6-1, while Kuznetsova, a two-time runner-up in Dubai, struggled past Tsevetana Pironkova 5-7, 6-2, 6-4 for a third straight time.
The wins put them on course to meet on Thursday, more than three weeks since their fourth-round encounter in Melbourne went for 4 hours, 44 minutes in the longest women's Grand Slam singles in the Open era. Schiavone ultimately won the match.
Looking forward to the match, Schiavone smiled and said, "After two hours, I'll take the racket and put it in the bag. ... I really want to play against her because we know each other, we play good tennis and we can enjoy it and improve."
Kuznetsova leads their matchups 8-5 since 2003, but Schiavone has won the last two.
Second-seeded Vera Zvonareva beat Roberta Vinci of Italy 6-3, 6-1. The Russian, still seeking her first title in more than a year, has lost in the quarterfinals the last two years.
"It's never easy to play Roberta, she's a tricky player," Zvonareva said.
Fourth-seeded Sam Stosur drubbed Pattaya Open runner-up Sara Errani of Italy 6-0, 6-1 in 55 minutes, and seventh-seeded Victoria Azarenka of Belarus overcame seven double faults to beat Chinese qualifier Peng Shuai 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (5).
No 8 Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland beat Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia 7-5, 6-4.
Shahar Peer of Israel, a semifinalist last year, defeated Alexandra Dulgheru of Romania 6-4, 6-2, and Marion Bartoli of France outlasted Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland 3-6, 6-4, 6-1.
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