CINCINNATI: Top-seeded Jelena Jankovic and second-seeded Caroline Wozniacki were knocked out of the third-round Thursday at the Cincinnati Women`s Open.
Qualifier Akgul Amanmuradova used a strong service game to topple world number two Jankovic 7-6 (7/2), 6-4, shortly after 16th-seeded Marion Bartoli won eight straight games on her way to a 6-4, 6-1 victory over third-ranked Wozniacki.
Just one of the top nine seeds - number four Kim Clijsters - reached the quarter-finals of the two million-dollar hardcourt tournament.
Clijsters bucked the upset trend with ease, ousting American Christina McHale 6-1, 6-1.
McHale had just two break point chances and couldn`t convert either.
Sixth-seeded Vera Zvonareva fell to 11th-seeded Flavia Pennetta 6-4, 6-3, while seventh-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska was eliminated by 10th-seeded Maria Sharapova 6-2, 6-3 and eighth-seeded Li Na lost to 12th-seeded Yanina Wickmayer 2-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7/4).
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova eliminated 13th-seeded Shahar Peer 5-7, 6-4, 6-4.
Sharapova, who is scheduled to face Bartoli in Friday`s night match, said the upsets are a sign of depth in women`s tennis.
"I think it just speaks a lot about the depth of the game right now," said Sharapova, who has never played in Cincinnati before. "I think the depth of the game is a lot deeper than it was, say, a few years ago, where maybe in the first few rounds you could have gotten a few easy matches, easy scorelines. I think now, from the get-go, you really have to be ready for the first round."
Former world number one Ana Ivanovic continued her progress with a quick 6-0, 6-3 win over Elena Vesnina.
Ivanovic, now ranked 62nd in the world, has beaten three higher-ranked opponents to reach the quarter-finals.
The 114th-ranked Amanmuradova had 12 aces with no double faults, keeping the tournament`s defending champion on her heels.
"I didn`t expect to go that far," said Amanmuradova, who is scheduled to meet Ivanovic in the quarter-finals. "I knew Cincinnati was very strong, being a Premier event for the second year.
Last year, I lost in the first round. I was just hoping to pass through the qualifier and see what happens. Today was one of my best games ever. I`d never beaten a top 10 player.
"Serving a lot of aces helped me save my energy," she added.
Jankovic played just two matches one week after losing in the first round at San Diego in her first match since injuring her left ankle during the second round of a tournament in Slovenia last month.
"The key to today`s match was I really didn`t return well and her serves were really accurate," Jankovic said. "I didn`t really have many chances. When I had the chances, I didn`t really take them.
"When I was able to hit the return, I would make mistakes. So, unfortunately, I didn`t do what I was supposed to do. She was a better player today."
Wozniacki was up 4-3 in the first set before Bartoli heated up and won the last three games of that set and five more to take charge.
Momentum shifted Bartoli`s way when she won a challenge on break point in the eighth game.
"To break her, especially to get this challenging call when the ball was out and the line judge called it in and actually it was out on the break point, it was kind of a huge turning point," Bartoli said. "I felt like, after that, I served really well, and it helped me a lot to stay on top today."
BDST: 1417HRS, August 13, 2010