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Williams defeats Sanchez in quarterfinals

Published:Tuesday | January 12, 2010 | 12:53 PM

Top-ranked Serena Williams opened her season with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez today, reaching the quarterfinals at a Sydney International where other leading players have struggled.

The American will now play Vera Dushevina in the quarterfinals.

Number Three Svetlana Kuznetsova lost 7-5, 6-2 to Slovakia\'s Dominika Cibulkova, joining fourth-seeded Caroline Wozniacki, Number 7 Jelena Jankovic and Number 8 Vera Zvonareva as losers in the first two rounds.

Second-seeded, Dinara Safina was in trouble in her first set since she quit with a back injury in October, losing the opening five games. However, she recovered to win 9 straight in a 7-5, 6-4 victory over Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland.

Safina will next play Olympic gold medalist, Elena Dementieva, who held off Slovakia\'s Daniela Hantuchova 6-2, 4-6, 6-2.