Henin-Hardenne rallies for win

Sunday, May 29, 2005

PARIS -- For a while, it appeared as though Justine Henin-Hardenne might not win a game during her third-round match at the French Open.

The Belgian fell behind 5-0 before rallying to beat Anabel Medina Garrigues 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 Saturday. Henin-Hardenne needed 26 minutes just to capture a game, then found the range with a wide array of shots, seized an early lead in the final set and held her final four service games.

Henin-Hardenne, seeded 10th, 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 U.S. Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, who beat American 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 won a duel of 18-year-old Russians with Anna Chakvetadze, 6-1, 6-4.

Three other Russian women also advanced -- No. 6-seeded Kuznetsova, No. 7 Nadia Petrova and No. 12 Elena Bovina.

Sharapova's opponent Sunday will be unseeded Nuria Llagostera Vives, who upset No. 13 Nathalie Dechy of France, 7-6 (1), 6-3.

Petrova swept Shahar Peer 6-3, 6-1, and Bovina beat 17-year-old Frenchwoman Tatiana Golovin 6-3, 7-5. Golovin had seven double-faults and failed to convert two sets points in the second set.

No. 3 Amelie Mauresmo of France 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, Russia's 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, seeded third, 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.

Jose Acasuso, who beat No. 2 Andy Roddick in the second round, led 3-0 when No. 27 Filippo Volandri quit with an injury.

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