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China's Last Hope for Singles Dashed After Sun's Exit

China's last hope for singles title at the China Open of WTA tournament was dashed as Sun Tiantian ended her tour in the quarterfinals, falling to Maria Kirilenko of Russia 6-1, 6-3 on Friday.

Unlike the match against Serena Williams, Sun Tiantian, the Chinese wildcard, didn't find her form and was broken four times in the first set. Trailing by 4-0, Sun fought back to win the fifth game but gave in the next two with 6-1 down.

Sun, No. 127 in the world, picked up her hope in the second set by leveling the score 2-2, but easily lost the next three before winning the 8th game. In the ninth game, Sun tried to save two match points before ending her tour 6-3 in 1 hour and 22 minutes, with her win-loss record down to 23-14 in 2005 and that of her career 164-92.

The Athens Olympic doubles champion said she didn't do a good job in service.

"I'm a little bit fussy, and my rival had some changes, which broke my rhythm," she said, "her changes played down my performance and made me make mistakes."

Like Peng Shuai, Sun also thought Chinese players were lacking in the ability to adjust them to changes on the court and easily gave in a match when frustrated.

"Chinese players are not that independent as foreign players, and we often rely on our coaches." Sun added.

Kirilenko, world ranked 45th, improved her win-loss record to 34-21 in 2005 and that of her career 103-59. She might meet her compatriot Maria Sharapova in the semifinals, who was still playing against Shinobu Asagoe of Japan in another quarter.

Kirilenko didn't tip the match as a tough one. She said, "Sun didn't play her best game, and I didn't as well but it's normal."

"She is nervous and confused in the first set, but she played much better in the second and hit the ball right there." She added.

Kirilenko, who will possibly meet her best friend Sharapova in the semis, expected the encounter. "I will do my best. Everything will be OK." She also hoped to be in the top ten in world tennis, "I practice just to be in the top ten."

(Xinhua News Agency September 24, 2005)

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