Fri, Feb 29, 2008 - Page 23 News List

Henin struggles to subdue Srebotnik

HARD-FOUGHT It took Justine Henin three hours to beat Katarina Srebotnik, while Amelie Mauresmo demonstrated why she is no longer in the top 25


Top-ranked Justine Henin was stretched to the limit by Slovenian qualifier Katarina Srebotnik 7-5, 6-7 (6), 6-3 to reach the Dubai Championships quarter-finals on Wednesday.

In an enthralling match that lasted exactly three hours, Henin beat Dubai-based Srebotnik to remain perfect at the Aviation Club. The four-time defending champion, who had a first-round bye, improved to 17-0 in Dubai. Henin will next face Italy's Francesca Schiavone.

Second-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova cruised past Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic 6-1, 6-2 and will meet unseeded Amelie Mauresmo, the 2002 champion and last year's runner-up.

Kuznetsova upset Mauresmo in the 2006 quarter-finals.

Mauresmo, showing why she's no longer in the top 25, struggled past lucky loser Akiko Morigami of Japan 4-6, 6-1, 6-4.

No. 3 Ana Ivanovic, the Australian Open runner-up, showed no sign of the ankle injury that forced her out of last week's Qatar Open when she dominated Czech Nicole Vaidisova 6-4, 6-0 in her Dubai debut. No. 4 Jelena Jankovic, a former finalist, needed all her grit and experience to beat Indian wild card Sania Mirza 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Russians Anna Chakvetadze and Elena Dementieva, seeded No. 6 and 8, also won.

Chakvetadze overcame compatriot Dinara Safina 6-7 (3), 6-4, 6-3, and Dementieva beat Ukrainian Alona Bondarenko 6-2, 6-1.

Henin, winner of 10 titles last year, saw a silver lining in her hard-fought win over Srebotnik.

"It always seems I get a tough first match in Dubai. But I kind of expected it as Srebotnik is a very good player and she played very well," said Henin, already a winner in Sydney and Antwerp this season.



Defending champion Juan Ignacio Chela and two-time winner Carlos Moya were eliminated in the second round of the Abierto Mexicano on Wednesday.

Fifth-seeded Chela, who beat Moya in last year's final, lost to 2003 champ Agustin Calleri 7-6 (4), 2-6, 6-1.

No. 2-seeded Moya, champion in 2002 and 2004, fell 6-4, 6-2 to Nicolas Massu of Chile.

Also ousted were No. 3 Juan Monaco and No. 4 Guillermo Canas of Argentina.

However, countryman and top seed David Nalbandian stayed on course for a second title in two weeks when the Buenos Aires champion rolled past Santiago Ventura of Spain 6-2, 6-3 to reach the quarter-finals.

"You have to play game by game and tomorrow I have a tough one against [Potito] Starace," Nalbandian said.

In women's play, top-seeded Flavia Pennetta downed Germany's Julia Schruff 6-2, 6-3.

Second-seeded Alize Cornet of France beat Mexican wild card Melissa Torres Sandoval 6-2, 6-0 but third-seeded Klara Zakopalova of the Czech Republic, runner-up in Vina del Mar to Pennetta just over a week ago, was upset by US veteran Jill Craybas 6-1, 4-6, 7-6 (2) in a two-hour, 22-minute match.

No. 7 Kaia Kanepi of Estonia and No. 8 Edina Gallovits of Romania won, but No. 5 Sara Errani of Italy and No. 6 Yvonne Meusburger of Austria lost.

In the quarter-finals, it will be Pennetta vs Gallovits, Kanepi vs Sorana Cirstea of Romania, Craybas vs Iveta Benesova of the Czech Republic, and Cornet vs Mariya Koryttseva of Ukraine.



Defending champion Tommy Haas was ousted by German compatriot Benjamin Becker 3-6, 6-2, 7-5 in the second round of the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships on Wednesday.

Haas was a three-time Memphis champ on an 11-match winning streak in the tournament, but coming back from shoulder surgery in November. His record for the season dropped to 2-3.

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