CINCINNATI(Ohio), July 19: Third-seed Sania Mirza of India led the way into the quarter-finals of the $175,000 WTA hardcourt tournament here with a straight set win over Varvara Lepchenko.
Sania downed her opponent on Wednesday from Uzbekistan 6-2, 6-2 to reach the quarter-finals here for the third straight year.
Mirza has been working her way back into shape after missing two and a half months earlier this season due to knee surgery.
Wednesday's victory marked the first time she has put together back-to-back victories since February.
Mirza now awaits the winner of the second-round match between ninth-seeded Jill Craybas of the United States and Olga Govortsova of Belarus.
Top-seeded Russian Anna Chakvetadze also reached the quarter-finals, defeating Romanian qualifier Anda Perianu 6-4, 6-3.
Perianu had recorded her first WTA Tour match win on Tuesday when she beat Melinda Czink in the first round.
The only other seeded player in action, No 7 Akiko Morigami of Japan also had an easy second-round match.
A finalist here in 2005, Morigami dispatched German teenager Angelique Kerber 6-2, 6-2.
Kerber has been rising steadily up the WTA Tour ranks this year, cracking the world Top 100 in May. But the 27-year-old Morigami has shown a lot of poise over the last few months as well, capturing her maiden singles title at Prague in May and pushing eventual champion Venus Williams to three sets in the early rounds of Wimbledon.
In other second-round action, American Lilia Osterloh topped Georgian qualifier Anna Tatishvili 7-5, 6-1 while in the first round China's Yuan Meng defeated Australian Casey Dellacqua 6-4, 4-6, 6-2.