Clijsters advances to Montreal quarter-finals

Reigning US Open champion Kim Clijsters cruised into the quarter-finals of the two million-dollar WTA Montreal Cup on Thursday by defeating Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi 6-2, 6-1.

The Belgian fifth seed, who won her third title of the year last week at Cincinnati, took just 55 minutes to reach a quarter-final Friday against Russian eighth seed Vera Zvonareva, who beat Hungary’s Agnes Szavay 6-3, 6-3.

One night after a three-set battle with American Bethanie Mattek-Sands in her first match since a three-set Cincinnati final against Maria Sharapova, Clijsters was pleased she advanced with relative ease.

Zvonareva took her only career victory over Clijsters at this year’s Wimbledon quarter-finals.

Clijsters, who rose to fourth in the WTA rankings released on Monday, ended a two-year layoff to start a family last year at Cincinnati and went on to win her second Grand Slam title at the US Open, which she also won in 2005.

Clijsters seeks a 39th career singles crown at the final major hardcourt tuneup for this year’s US Open and bids for her fourth title of 2010, having already won at Brisbane and Miami in addition to last week.

Danish world number two Caroline Wozniacki advanced to the last eight by ousting Italy’s Flavia Pennetta 4-6, 6-3, 6-1. She will next face Italian sixth seed Francesca Schiavone, who eliminated Russia’s Dinara Safina 6-4, 6-3.

Russia’s Svetlana Kuznetsova saved five of six break points she faced in the third set to defeat Polish seventh seed Agnieszka Radwanska 6-4, 1-6, 6-3.

The victory advanced Kuznetsova into a quarter-final match against China’s Zheng Jie, who upset Russian fourth seed Elena Dementieva 7-6 (7/3), 6-4.

France’s Marion Bartoli and Victoria Azarenka of Belarus will meet in another Friday quarter-final after each advanced in straight sets.

Bartoli eliminated Czech qualifier Iveta Benesova 6-0, 6-1, after Benesova had earlier ousted Serbian top seed Jelena Jankovic.

Azarenka defeated China’s ninth-seeded Li Na 6-3, 6-3. Li had moved into a first-round bye position after third seed Venus Williams withdrew with a leg injury.