Top-ranked Lindsay Davenport advanced to the French Open quarterfinals for the first time since 1999, staging a comeback yesterday to beat Kim Clijsters 1-6, 7-5, 6-3.
Two-time runner-up Clijsters led 3-1 in the second set before Davenport rallied for her fourth three-set victory in as many rounds.
Davenport ended a streak of six consecutive losses to Clijsters and did it on clay, her least favorite surface. She's the only American left of the 22 entered, male or female, and is seeking the lone Grand Slam title she has yet to win.
Joining the 28-year-old Davenport in the final eight was 15-year-old Bulgarian Sesil Karatantcheva, who showed her earlier win over Venus Williams was no fluke by beating Emmanuelle Gagliardi 7-5, 6-3.
Clijsters, seeded 14th but playing the best tennis in the tournament through three rounds, was three games from another easy victory but struggled with her serve and began to misfire from the baseline. She had 11 double faults, and the last one came on break point to put her behind 5-3 in the final set.
Three errors by Clijsters in the final game gave the win to Davenport, who in a rare display of jubilation meekly raised a fist and smiled.
Fifteen-year-old Sesil Karatantcheva of Bulgaria advanced to the quarterfinals after beating Switzerland's Emmanuelle Gagliardi 7-5, 6-3.
Karatantcheva, the junior champion at Roland Garros last year, had beaten four-time Grand Slam winner Venus Williams in the third round.
Justine Henin-Hardenne rallied to win her third-round match at the French Open, overcoming a slow start to beat Anabel Medina Garrigues 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 Saturday.
Henin-Hardenne needed 26 minutes just to win a game after falling behind 5-0, then found the range with her wide array of shots, seized an early lead in the final set and held her final four service games for the victory.
The 10th-seeded Henin-Hardenne improved to 23-1 since returning in March from a seven-month layoff because of a blood virus and knee injury. She has won 20 consecutive matches, all on clay.
"I had a lot of difficulties at the beginning, but that's because my opponent was so good," Henin-Hardenne said. "This was one of my best matches in recent times. She didn't give away anything. This type of match is very satisfying, because you really need to go for it."
The 2003 champion's opponent Sunday will be reigning US Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, who beat Marissa Irvin 6-1, 2-6, 6-0. That result left top-ranked Lindsay Davenport as the lone remaining American, male or female, among the 22 who entered the tournament.
Maria Sharapova had Anna Chakvetadze pounding the clay with her racket in frustration -- and that was just two games into the match. Taking charge from the start, Sharapova won a duel of 18-year-old Russians, 6-1, 6-4.
The second-seeded Sharapova is seeking her first Roland Garros title and trying to overtake Davenport to claim the No. 1 ranking for the first time.
Three other Russian women also advanced -- sixth-seeded Kuznetsova, No. 7 Nadia Petrova and No. 12 Elena Bovina.
Third-seeded Amelie Mauresmo endured another Roland Garros meltdown, losing to 17-year-old Ana Ivanovic 6-4, 3-6, 6-4. Mauresmo, who has never advanced beyond the quarterfinals in 11 tries, lost the final game at love and double-faulted on match point.
On the men's side, Russian Marat Safin needed 3 hours, 46 minutes to eliminate 2003 champion Juan Carlos Ferrero 7-6 (5), 7-5, 1-6, 7-6 (2). Safin hit 51 winners, including 13 aces.
"It was a great match," Safin said. "I will remember it. I will get it on video."
The third-seeded Safin next plays No. 15 Tommy Robredo, who beat David Sanchez 6-4, 6-3, 6-1
No. 8 Guillermo Coria, the runner-up last year, beat Jurgen Melzer 6-1, 6-1, 7-6 (2). Coria will next play No. 12 Nikolay Davydenko, who won the final 14 games to beat No. 21 Tommy Haas 7-5, 6-0, 6-0.
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