Monica Seles's task at the Canadian Open in Toronto, already eased by the first-round loss of the No 1 seed Steffi Graf, became even less demanding when the third seed, Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, was defeated by Helena Sukova 7-5, 6-4.
Sanchez Vicario, the tournament's defending champion who played both singles and doubles matches the night before, was unable to get back into her stride as easily as Seles haddone a day earlier.
Sukova said the timing should have been no problem for Sanchez Vicario. "She's used to that," she said. "It was not such a big surprise to me. I knew I was capable of beating her."
Sanchez Vicario refused to blame her late finish the previous night. "I finished late, but it was not that," she said. "I didn't play well enough to win the match. I made too many errors."
A year ago, Sanchez Vicario used a victory in the Canadian Open as the springboard to the US Open. Now her elimination seems to simplify Seles's road to the final. Gabriela Sabatini, a 6-1, 6-0 winner over Yone Kamio on Thursday, is the highest remaining seed in Seles's half of the draw - No 6.
Seles said she would have preferred to play yesterday after victories over Kimberly Po and Nathalie Tauziat that were separated by just 17 hours. Instead, she took treatment on her left knee and considered her next opponent, Anke Huber. "I have to serve well against Anke," she said. "She has a great return."
Jana Novotna advanced to the quarter-finals with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Judith Wiesner. The win moved Novotna past $5m (pounds 3.3m) in career winnings, she becomes the ninth woman to reach that mark.