Defending champion Amelie Mauresmo of France has reached the quarterfinals of the Italian Masters clay court tennis tournament in Rome.
Mauresmo, the second seed, beat Italy's Silvia Farina Elia in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3. The French player takes on Conchita Martinez of Spain, who advanced when her opponent Nadia Petrova of Russia withdrew with a leg muscle strain.
Sixth-seeded Russian Vera Zvonareva scored a three-set win over Colombian qualifier Catalina Castano 6-1, 5-7, 6-2. Zvonareva plays Italy's Francesca Schiavone, who ousted 15th seed Ai Sugiyama of Japan 6-3, 7-5.
Meanwhile, eighth-seeded Patty Schnyder of Switzerland reached the final eight by beating Ana Ivanovic of Serbia-Montenegro 6-3, 6-2. The Swiss player faces Russia's Evgenia Linetskaya, who ousted Argentine Gisela Dulko in three sets 5-7, 6-4, 6-4.
In the night match, Wimbledon champion and world number two Maria Sharapova of Russia survived a first set tie-break in a 7-6, 6-4 victory against former champion Mary Pierce.
Sharapova built a 5-2 lead in the first set before Pierce leveled the set at 5-5. The set eventually went to a tie-breaker where Sharapova was able to win. In the second set, the two players traded breaks but the Russian teenager was able to win.
The tournament is one of several events players are using to prepare for the second major tournament of the year, the French Open, which starts May 23 in Paris.
Some information for this report provided by AP.