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Serena, Safina Sail Into Sydney Semifinals

PTI 12 Jan 2010, 10:29:40 IST

Top-ranked Serena Williams  advanced to the Sydney International quarterfinals with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez of Spain in the American's first match of the season.

The defending Australian Open champion is using the Sydney tournament as her main warm up for first major of the season, which starts next Monday in Melbourne.

She had a bye in the first round and spent only 1 hour, 12 minutes on court Tuesday. She will next face Vera Dushevina, a 6-3, 6-4 winner over fellow Russian Elena Vesnina.

Second-seeded Dinara Safina returned from a back injury with a 7-5, 6-4 win over Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland, losing the opening five games before winning nine straight.