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

AP , DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

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.

■ CHELA DROPS OUT

AP, ACAPULCO, MEXICO

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.

■ BECKER OUSTS HAAS

AP, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE

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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