TORONTO – Anastasia Myskina defeated Argentina’s Gisela Dulko 6-4, 7-5 Friday despite a splint on her sprained left ankle and advanced to the Rogers Cup semifinals.

Myskina, seeded ninth, will next meet Kim Clijsters, the seventh-seeded Belgian who routed Flavia Pennetta of Italy 6-0, 6-1. Myskina turned her ankle during the second set Thursday. The Russian hobbled to the sidelines in tears in her match against Shinobu Asagoe, had her ankle taped and returned to win 7-6 (5), 7-5. Myskina underwent treatment late into Thursday night, with more therapy Friday morning.

“Some moves it really bothers me, but some of them were OK,” Myskina said. “I didn’t really think that Gisela played really smart with me today, so that was big advantage for me. Definitely, the drop shot was the key, but she didn’t use it.”

Dulko broke serve to tie it 4-4 in the second set and then held to take the lead. Myskina responded by winning three straight games for the victory.

“My coach even said that I played well,” Myskina said. “That’s really new. I’m really happy with that.”

Dulko, ranked 35th, defeated third-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova in the third round. Kuznetsova, the defending U.S. Open champion, hurt her back in the first set. Clijsters barely had time to break a sweat against Pennetta, ousting the No. 30-ranked player in 41 minutes. Clijsters clearly will pose a bigger challenge for Myskina.

“She’s a great tennis player,” Myskina said. “Whatever she’s doing on the court, she’s doing amazing. Especially the way she moves on the court, it’s just unbelievable.”

Myskina’s injury is the latest to hit the tournament. No. 1-seeded Maria Sharapova (chest muscle), No. 8 Mary Pierce (thigh), No. 5 Serena Williams (knee) and No. 12 Ana Ivanovic (chest) withdrew this week. Last week, Venus Williams (flu), Alicia Molik and Elena Bovina (shoulder) dropped out.

Subpar Safin knocked out of Masters

MASON, Ohio – Marat Safin barely moved while the match-ending ace flew by, then tossed his racket onto the court in exasperation. The U.S. Open is at hand, and the Australian Open champ is in a bad way.

Wild card entry Robby Ginepri needed only 56 minutes Friday to knock Safin out of the $2.45 million Cincinnati Masters. Ginepri advanced to the semifinals with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over the hobbled Russian.

Top-ranked Roger Federer also reached the semifinals with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Jose Acasuso. The rest of the field would be set after evening matches.

Safin was seeded fourth in Cincinnati, but hadn’t played since Wimbledon because of a slightly torn ligament in the left knee. He hadn’t even practiced much, hoping rest and treatment would get the knee strong enough for the Open.

It hasn’t gone that way.

Safin complained throughout the tournament that the knee still hurt, making him tentative on the court. There were several times Friday when he came up awkwardly after planting on the knee, which was protected by a wrap. He said the knee felt a little more inflamed on Friday.

during his third match of the week.


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