Mauresmo: '3 matches down, 4 to go'

Updated: January 21, 2005, 6:13 AM ET
Associated Press

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Second-ranked Amelie Mauresmo kept her composure while teenager Ana Ivanovic lost hers Friday, advancing to the fourth round of the Australian Open with a 6-2, 7-5 victory.

Ivanovic, 17, broke Mauresmo's serve twice in the second set, but dropped her next two service games. After having game point to force a second-set tiebreaker, Ivanovic struggled to combat Mauresmo's slice backhand and made a string of errors, surrendering the match.

Serena Williams, the 2003 Australian winner, closed with two aces on her last three serves in a 6-1, 6-4 win over Sania Mirza, the first woman from India to reach the third round at a major.

"Finally, after forever it seems, (I was) able to feel my serve," Williams said. "So I was really happy about that."

Wimbledon winner Maria Sharapova, seeded fourth, had a much easier time under the lights than dealing with the daytime heat in her last match, when she needed packs of ice to cool off her neck and shoulders. She needed only 50 minutes to beat China's Li Na, who committed 27 errors and had only three winners in losing 6-0, 6-2.

Mauresmo, 25, rose to the No. 1 ranking last September before slipping behind Lindsay Davenport. Ivanovic made the biggest leap in the rankings on the WTA Tour in 2004, moving 608 spots to finish at No. 97.

Mauresmo, a finalist here in 1999, said Friday's third-round win was part of her progression to, "hopefully," her first major title.

"It's a long way still, three matches down, four to go and some good players still in the field," she said. "I'm happy with how things are going -- it's the first time that I got into a Grand Slam with this ranking.

"I'm enjoying it. Hopefully, I get closer and closer to the No. 1 spot."

She next faces Evgenia Linetskaya, a 6-3, 6-4 winner against American Amy Frazier, seeded 21st.

U.S. Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova made 48 unforced errors in her 6-3, 7-6 (5) win over Mariana Diaz-Oliva.

Earlier in the week, Belgian authorities said Kuznetsova tested positive for ephedrine in a charity match there last month. Kuznetsova said her doctor gave her medicine for a cold. Ephedrine, commonly in cold medicine, is on the list of banned substances in competition but isn't off limits in the offseason.

In other matches, 15th-seeded Silvia Farina Elia cruised past British qualifier Elena Baltacha, and 48-year-old Martina Navratilova advanced to the third round of the women's doubles with Daniela Hantuchova.


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press

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