Sharapova, Dementieva advance

Isner, Safin move into third round at Los Angeles Open with easy wins

Marat Safin executes a backhand against Ernests Gulbis at the Los Angeles Open on Wednesday. AFP

A red-hot Sharapova destroyed fifth seed and compatriot Nadia Petrova 6-1, 6-2, before world number four Dementieva despatched another Russian, Maria Kirilenko, with the same scoreline.

Sharapova, who came back from shoulder surgery in May after nearly 10 months off the tour, overwhelmed Petrova with precise serving, huge returns and razor-sharp groundstrokes in a stunning return to form. 

After shaking off the rust with a three-set defeat of Japanese veteran Ai Sugiyama in the first round on Monday, Sharapova was rarely troubled by Petrova, who stretched her to three sets at the French Open second round in May. 

Dementieva had few problems with 52nd-ranked Kirilenko, who appeared tired after her marathon three and half hour win over Anna Chakvetadze on Tuesday.

Australia's Samantha Stosur defeated Monica Niculescu of Romania 6-1, 7-5 in other second round action on Wednesday.

Isner advances

Big-serving American John Isner continued his red-hot run at the LA Open with a 6-3, 7-6 victory over Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis in the second round on Wednesday.

Isner unleashed 11 aces to advance to his fourth quarterfinal this year and will next meet Australian qualifier Carsten Ball.

World number 205 Ball booked his place in the last eight for the first time on the circuit when third-seeded Russian Dmitry Tursunov, runner-up here in 2006, retired hurt with a back injury while trailing 4-6, 1-0 in their encounter.

Eighth-seeded Russian Marat Safin also advanced, reaching the quarters for the third successive year in Los Angeles after coming from a set down to beat Latvian Ernests Gulbis 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.

In the last eight, the Russian will face top-seeded German Tommy Haas, who crushed American wildcard Jesse Levine 6-1, 6-3 in his first match since losing to Roger Federer in the Wimbledon semifinals.

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