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Petrova demolishes Pratt in Tennis
Big-hitting Nadia Petrova overcame pre-match dehydration to lead a Russian assault into the finals of the Gold Coast hardcourt championships with a convincing win over Australian Nicole Pratt. Playing in stifling heat on centre court, the 21-year-old No. 2 seed displayed the all-round power that boosted her 99 places on the WTA list last year to No. 12 in the world. Petrova cruised to a 6-2, 6-2 victory in just 63 minutes, leaving Gold Coast wildcard Samantha Stosur as the only remaining Australian in the tournament at Royal Pines Resort. The Russian showed no sign of the energy-sapping dehydration that prompted her to seek medical aid an hour before the match. "I wasn't feeling great for a couple of days," she said. "I was struggling because it was very hot and I haven't been drinking a lot. "An hour before I saw a health care provider who gave me sport drinks and power bars, so I felt pretty good." Queenslander Pratt, ranked 53 in the world, admitted she was ambushed by Petrova. "She stepped up. I didn't expect her to play that well," the Australian No. 2 said. Petrova will next meet 17-year-old fellow Russian Dinara Safina in the quarter-finals. Safina, the younger sister of former world No. 1 Marat Safin, advanced with a 6-3, 6-4 win over fifth seed Conchita Martinez of Spain. Another young Russian, Svetlana Kuznetsova, earned a quarter-final appearance yesterday by upsetting No. 3 seeded Russian Vera Zvonareva 1-6, 6-3, 6-2. Kuznetsova, 18, said the stakes were higher playing against a fellow Russian. "You have much pressure on you and you play different," she said. Kuznetsova will meet defending champion Nathalie Dechy of France, who reached the quarter-finals when Swiss star Patty Schnyder withdrew from the second round yesterday after spraining her right ankle during practice.
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