By Rick Eymer
Palo Alto Online Sports
Samantha Stosur has always been known as one of the top doubles players on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour. Now she's highlighting her singles play.
The 26-year-old Australian reached a career-best No. 5 on July 5. Playing in her first tournament since breaking into the Top 5, Stosur beat qualifier Christina McHale, 6-1, 7-5.
In other matches, No. 2 seed Elena Dementieva beat Kimiko Date Krum, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4; third-seeded Annieszka Radwanska got past qualifier Olga Savchuk, 7-6 (7-4), 6-2, and seventh-seeded Yanina Wickmayer beat Dominika Cibulkova, 6-1, 6-4.
Stosur, who has 22 career doubles titles to her credit, and Wickmayer meet in Friday's quarterfinal round.
"It's not like I have changed anything dramatically overnight," said Stosur, who lost to eventual champion Marion Bartoli in the semifinals of last year's event. "It's just a combination of everything that I have been doing over the past few years and now it's all coming together."
Stosur lost her first-round match at Wimbledon last month and that's been about the only disappointment of the season for the Classic's top seed. She won her second career title at Charleston earlier in the season, reached the finals of the French Open and the semifinals at Indian Wells and Eastbourne.
"Once you produce some good results, it instills more belief," Stosur said. "But I haven't changed anything in my game. I have still been working on the same things, just getting better at them. It has been important to staying consistent, week in and week out."
Stosur won her 36th match of the season, the most on the tour, on Wednesday. She carries a career 302-107 mark into Friday's match against the 20-year-old Wickmayer, ranked No. 17.
"The high ranking feels good," Stosur said. "It was a goal for me to get to No. 10, and I was kind of close to reaching that even though it took me a few months. Once I got to that point, all of a sudden I moved up to No. 5. To have another big jump like that so soon is really pleasing. There definitely is a lot of hard work to be done in the future if I want to stay there or try and get better."
Radwanska survived a tight first set to reach the quarterfinals, where she will meet the winner of Thursday morning's match between sixth-seeded Shahar Peer and Maria Kirilenko.
"It's always difficult during your first tournament on the hard court," Radwanska said. "I thought I was playing a lot better, maybe not so much in the beginning but my second serve was also better."
Dementieva palyed her first match since a left calf injury forced her out of Wimbledon.
"It's never easy to play without competition for two weeks and it took me a while to get into the game," Dementieva said. "Sometimes it's good to go three sets and to face those difficult moments while finding a way to win."
Dementieva won 12 of the final 17 games to avoid becoming the first seeded player to fall in the tournament. The two players were a combined 13 of 28 on break points.
The 39-year-old Date Krumm, who was ranked third in the world in 1995, was born in 1970, the year before the Bank of the West Classic was born.
In Los Angeles, Stanford products Bob and Mike Bryan opened a bid to win their record 62nd career doubles title with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Mardy Fish and Mark Knowles on Wednesday night in the Farmers Classic.
The top-seeded Bryans are five-time champions of their hometown tournament at the Los Angeles Tennis Center on the UCLA campus. They're from nearby Camarillo in Ventura County.
"It feels great to be on that court," Mike said. "You look around and see a lot of familiar faces and it gives you a shot of energy. We played on that court when we were 6-years-old and probably every year since. It's our favorite court in the world."
The brothers are tied with Hall of Famers Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde with 61 career titles. They could have made history at Wimbledon, but lost in the quarterfinals.
Bob Bryan said the twins felt greater pressure to tie the Woodies, which they did in May at the Madrid Masters.
The full draw can be found at the Bank of the West Classic website.
Bank of the West Classic
Shahar Peer vs. Maria Kirilenko, noon
Melanie Oudin vs. Victoria Azarenka, 1:30 p.m.
Maria Sharapova vs. Olga Govortsova, 2:30 p.m.
Azarenka-Kirilenko vs. Mattek-Sands/Shaughnessy, to follow
Borwell/Kops-Jones vs. Osterloh-Zalameda, 11 a.m.
(U.S. Open National Playoff)
Megan Falcon vs. Jessica Pegula, 11 a.m.
Rachel Kahan vs. Courtney Dolehide, to follow
Katerina Sevcikova vs. Maureen Diaz, to follow
Romana Tedjakusuma vs. Alexandra Mueller, to follow