Jankovic eases into semifinals

Jankovic eases into semifinals

Gael Monfils thumps Arguello; Rohan Bopanna crashes out

Jelena Jankovic

Earlier, seventh seed Jelena Jankovic eased past France's Marion Bartoli 6-4, 6-3 to reach the last four of the $2 million tournament in Tokyo.

Sharapova, 25th in the world after shoulder surgery last October, kept the nervous event organisers happy after a glut of early exits by top-seeded players.

The Russian, still looking for her first title since her return from injury, rattled off four straight games to take the opening set.

Sharapova's big-match experience told again at the business end of the second set when she broke her opponent's serve at 6-5 with a ferocious backhand to close out the quarterfinal.

The 2005 Tokyo champion will face the winner of Thursday's late match between 11th seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland and Slovakia's Magdalena Rybarikova in the semifinals.

Jankovic, who finished 2008 at the top of the rankings, never looked in danger of following the top six seeds out of the event.

Jankovic completed victory over Bartoli by forcing the 14th seed to dump a backhand into the net, ending a point which neatly encapsulated their match.
A tournament which began with nine of the world's top 10 was left with just one after eighth seed Victoria Azarenka of Belarus was beaten by China's Li Na 7-6, 4-6, 7-6.

Monfils through

Frenchman Gael Monfils punished Martin Vassallo Arguello with 14 break points en route to a 6-4, 6-2 victory at the Malaysia Open, setting up a quarterfinal with top seed Nikolay Davydenko.

Czech sixth seed Tomas Berdych reached the last eight, but had to go the distance to overcome German Simon Greul 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 at the Putra stadium.

Berdych will face his next test against Sweden’s Roland Garros finalist Robin Soderling, the third seed.

Monfils, who only arrived at the last minute after winning the Metz title at the weekend in France and then battling travel setbacks to finally reach Asia, has been dealing with jet-lag as he makes his start in Kuala Lumpur.

The 23-year-old number 13, now 3-0 over Vassallo Arguello, stands 2-1 to the good against Davydenko, with their last meeting in 2007.

Bopanna run ends

Meanwhile Rohan Bopanna’s dream run at the ATP Kuala Lumpur Open ended after losing 4-6, 6-3, 4-6 against World number 12 Fernando Gonzalez of Chile in the second round.