Patty Schnyder brought an end to the Maleeva era in pro tennis when she beat Magdalena Maleeva 6-3, 6-2 in a second-round match of former champions at the Zurich Open on Wednesday.
Maleeva announced this was her farewell tournament. She was the youngest of three sisters who first appeared on the WTA Tour in 1982, won a combined 40 singles titles, and put Bulgaria on the tennis map. Russians Elena Dementieva and Anastasia Myskina also won to set up a quarterfinal on Friday.
However, third-seeded Mary Pierce withdrew, citing a right thigh strain after winning her first title of the year in Moscow last week. She was replaced in the draw by Sesil Karatantcheva of Bulgaria. Schnyder, who won the 2002 Zurich title before her home crowd, overwhelmed Maleeva, who made too many errors to pose a threat.
Maleeva was greeted by a standing ovation at the end, and was too emotional to talk to the crowd. She turned pro after her 14th birthday in 1989, and won 10 singles titles _ including Zurich in 1994 _ and five doubles, reaching a career-high ranking of No. 4 in 1996. She followed sisters Manuela, who also won in Zurich, and Katerina.
Seventh-seeded Myskina downed Silvia Farina Elia 6-1, 6-4 after taking two previous beatings from the Italian, and fourth-seeded Dementieva won another battle with France's Nathalie Dechy 5-7, 6-2, 6-4. It was the fifth time Dementieva had to beat Dechy in three sets, and second time this year.
Nadia Petrova, seeded fifth, topped Conchita Martinez 6-4, 7-6 (5) for the first time in six years, and will next face Francesca Schiavone of Italy, the runner-up in Moscow. Schiavone beat compatriot Roberta Vinci 5-7, 6-2, 6-1. Another Italian, Flavia Pennetta, defeated Kveta Peschke of the Czech Republic 1-6, 6-1, 6-4, and will play Karatantcheva, AP reports.
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