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Azarenka, Sharapova advance to China Open quarters

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BEIJING (AP) - Top-ranked Victoria Azarenka and No. 2 Maria Sharapova reached the China Open quarterfinals Thursday with straight-set wins.

Azarenka beat Elena Vesnina of Russia 6-3, 6-3, while Sharapova defeated Slovenian qualifier Polona Hercog 6-0, 6-2.

Azarenka will face Romina Oprandi of Switzerland, while Sharapova will play Angelique Kerber of Germany. Kerber beat former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki 6-1, 2-6, 6-4.

"I played really well in the beginning and got a little tense in the second set," Sharapova said. "But I felt like I really needed that challenge."

Azarenka looks to rebound from her trip last week to Tokyo, when she withdrew from the tournament after a bout of dizziness in the third round.

Li Na beat Shuai Peng 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (3) in an all-Chinese clash. Li will face third-ranked Agnieszka Radwanska.

In men's singles, Sam Querrey of the U.S. defeated Andreas Seppi 6-1, 6-4. He'll face Feliciano Lopez, who topped Yen-hsun Lu 6-3, 7-6 (7). Mikhail Youzhny of Russia defeated Kevin Anderson of South Africa 6-3, 6-3.

Local wild card Zhang Ze upset fifth-seeded Richard Gasquet of France 6-4, 3-6, 6-4. Zhang, China's highest ranked player at 165th, has reached his first quarterfinals.

Gasquet won the Bangkok title last week.

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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