Alexa

Henin, Kuznetsova, Ivanovic, Mauresmo, reach quarterfinals at Dubai

Henin, Kuznetsova, Ivanovic, Mauresmo, reach quarterfinals at Dubai

Top-ranked Justine Henin was stretched to the limit by Slovenia qualifier Katarina Srebotnik 7-5, 6-7 (6), 6-3 to reach the Dubai Championships quarterfinals 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 Italian 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 quarterfinals.
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 in 2007, 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.
"I knew it won't be easy because I am just coming from playing indoors in Antwerp. So a tough first match is good for me to get used to the conditions. But still, I thought the third set was the best I played for a long time. I enjoyed being out there, served really well, returned well, and moved very well. The first two sets I was struggling with my returns.
"So, even if it was not perfect, I will gladly take the win. The most important thing is that I am in the quarterfinals now."
Jankovic struggled with her serve, the Hawk-eye and the enthusiastic Mirza supporters throughout and it was only a slew of errors by her opponent that kept the Serbian alive in the tournament. Mirza had three break points to go 5-3 up in the final set, but blew each one of them.
"At 15-40 in the eighth game of the final set, I thought I was in trouble," Jankovic said. "But when she made those mistakes, I thought maybe she is a bit nervous or something. But I was just glad to take the opportunity. She played really well and she was hitting the ball solid."
In Thursday's other quarters, Jankovic plays Chakvetadze, and Ivanovic meets Dementieva.