|Thursday, April 10
Serena improves record to 19-0
CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Serena Williams kept winning Thursday despite cold and overcast conditions at the Family Circle Cup.
With temperatures in the low 50s and a chilly breeze blowing in from the nearby Wando River, Williams needed only 61 minutes to defeat Conchita Martinez 6-2, 6-2 and up her record to 19-0 in 2003.
Williams, the world's top-ranked player, plays Jelena Dokic in the quarterfinals Friday. Dokic beat Elena Dementieva 3-6, 7-5, 3-1.
"It was definitely way colder today," Williams said. "I thought it was going to rain so I wanted to play well, play quick and get it over with."
Martinez had to play Williams hours after defeating Tathiana Garbin 6-2, 6-4 in a second-round match.
Rain throughout the week forced tournament officials to reschedule matches, although the rain stayed away Thursday.
Young American Ashley Harkleroad also won again. A day earlier, the 17 year-old Harkleroad posted the biggest win of her career with a victory over 16th-ranked Elena Bovina of Russia.
On Thursday, it took Harkleroad just over an hour to beat No. 20 Meghann Shaughnessy 6-2, 6-2.
"I'm just trying to enjoy every minute of it because this is my last tournament until I turn 18," said Harkleroad, who is ranked No. 101 in the world.
Under WTA rules, players can compete full-time once they are 18. Harkleroad turns 18 on May 2.
"I knew I was going to get into the Grand Slams and stuff and I wasn't really worrying about that," Harkleroad said. "I had just a few more weeks and was going to be able to play as many tournaments as I wanted. I was just saying let's just go in here and play tennis."
Harkleroad next plays Daniela Hantuchova, who beat Jill Craybas 7-6 (10), 6-3.
While the first matches of the day on stadium court started as scheduled, others were delayed because of rain-soaked courts.
"The courts were slower, the balls were heavier, but we did our best out there despite the conditions," said No. 3 seed Lindsay Davenport, who defeated Clarisa Fernandez 6-4, 6-4 in a third-round match.
Davenport said the cold probably helped her concentration.
"You want to get off the court. (You) never know if more rain is coming," she said. "The hardest thing is just getting your body going and feeling like you're not going to get injured."
Davenport faces Vera Zvonareva in the quarterfinals Friday.
Second-seeded Justine Henin-Hardenne also advanced after beating Nathalie Dechy 2-6, 6-3, 6-2. She next plays Mary Pierce, who defeated Amanda Coetzer 6-3, 1-6, 6-0 on Thursday. Earlier in the day, Pierce beat No. 7 seed Anastasia Myskina 6-4, 1-6, 6-2 in the completion of their rain-delayed match from Wednesday.