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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) – Maria Kirilenko has advanced to the quarterfinals of the Australian Open after 2009 finalist Dinara Safina retired in the first set of their fourth-round match with an apparent leg or back injury.
No. 2 Safina was facing set point, trailing 4-5 and serving at 30-40, when she limped to her changeover chair for a few moments, then walked up and shook Kirilenko’s hand.
Safina lost in straight sets to Serena Williams last year in the final.
Kirilenko, who beat another Russian, 2008 champion Maria Sharapova, in the first round, will play Zheng Jie in the quarterfinals.
Zheng advanced earlier Sunday, becoming the first Chinese player to reach the quarterfinals at Melbourne Park with a 7-6 (6), 6-4 victory over Alona Bondarenko.