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Cancer-victim Kleybanova into quarter-finals of Kremlin Cup

ESPN staff
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Alisa Kleybanova resumed her career in May © Getty Images
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Alisa Kleybanova is into her first quarter-final since being treated for cancer after beating sixth-seeded Carla Suarez Navarro 7-6(2) 6-4 at the Kremlin Cup.

Kleybanova was diagnosed with blood cancer and underwent chemotherapy until December 2011. The 24-year-old Russian was ranked as high as No. 20, but is 254th after missing the majority of the past two campaigns.

She resumed her career in May and won a challenger event before returning in August to the WTA Tour in Toronto.

"I always liked to play with Carla, and I knew it would be a tough match today," Kleybanova said. "I played more accurate on key moments and that's why I won."

Sam Stosurreached the second round after overcoming Kaia Kanepi 6-3 6-1. Stosur, coming off her second title this season and fifth of her career, converted four of 11 break opportunities.

"Kaia was a really dangerous opponent," Stosur said. "I really tried to start the match well, on top."

A finalist last year, Stosur will next play Alize Cornet.

Two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova defeated Sofia Arvidsson 6-2 7-5.

The 23rd-ranked Kuznetsova overcame an early break in the second set and earned the victory on her third match point.

"I was hurrying a bit and wanted to play more aggressive, thus making more mistakes," Kuznetsova said. "But I can say that now, by the end of the season, I play much better."

Kuznetsova missed Wimbledon, among several tournaments in midseason, because of an abdominal injury. She will try to reach the semifinals for only the second time in Moscow when she faces second-seeded Roberta Vinci of Italy, who beat Elena Vesnina 2-6, 6-1 6-4 after a first-round bye.

Vesnina, who won her first two singles titles this season, broke twice in the opening set. But Vinci broke the Russian three times in the second to force a decider. The 11th-ranked Italian broke decisively in the seventh game and served out.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who is looking for her third title of the season, beat Russian compatriot Maria Pavlyuchenkova 6-3 6-3 to reach her seventh quarter-final.

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This article first appeared on ESPN.com

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