Pierce, Seles and Martinez advance

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The Independent Online

Mary Pierce, Monica Seles and Conchita Martinez enjoyed easy victories to advance to the quarter-finals of the Bausch and Lomb Championships in Amelia Island, Florida today.

Seles, the defending champion and seeded No 3, needed just 49 minutes to defeat Corina Morariu 6-3, 6-1. No 4 Martinez, who won this event in 1995, scored a 6-0, 6-4 win over Jelena Dokic in 46 minutes.

Rain played havoc with the schedule the last two days, allowing for the completion of just three singles matches since Wednesday. That left officials scrambling to essentially cram four days of tennis into two.

Pierce went up 3-0 in the second set, but Talaja evened the set at three games all. The two split the next four games, but Pierce then held serve to go ahead 6-5. When Talaja couldn't return a Pierce drop volley, Pierce earned the right to take on No 12 Elena Likhovtseva on Saturday night for a berth in Sunday's semi-finals.

Seles showed no ill affects from an ankle injury that contributed to her 6-0, 6-0 loss to Martina Hinges at the Ericsson Open two weeks ago.

Martinez used a powerful and accurate serve to win 81 percent of her first serve points.

No 8 seed Barbara Schett routed No 15 seed Chanda Rubin 6-0, 6-2 in 32 minutes

Likhovtseva earned a quarter-final spot with a 6-3, 7-6 (4) victory over Patty Schnyder. Already having reached the quarter-finals with Thursday night wins were Anna Kournikova, Paola Suarez and Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario.

In later matches, it was: Pierce vs. Likhovtseva, Seles vs. Sanchez-Vicario, Martinez vs. Schett and Kournikova vs. Suarez.

The semi-finals have been moved to Sunday morning, with the championship later in the afternoon.

Results from the $535,000 Bausch and Lomb Championships:

Singles Third Round

(3) Monica Seles (US) def. Corina Morariu (US) 6-3, 6-1. (4) Conchita Martinez (Sp) def. Jelena Dokic (Aus) 6-1, 6-4. (8) Barbara Schett (Aut) def. (15) Chanda Rubin (US) 6-0, 6-2. (1) Mary Pierce (Fr) def. (14) Silvija Talaja (Cro) 6-4, 7-5. (12) Elena Likhovtseva (Rus) def. Patty Schnyder (Swit) 6-3, 7-6 (4).

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