Henin, Sharapova set up third round showdown

16:00, May 29, 2010      

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Four-time champion Henin and former world number one Sharapova both advanced into the third round, setting up a highly expected showdown for a place in the last 16 on Saturday after comfortably winning second-round matches suspended for rain on Thursday.

Henin, the 22nd seed, finished off a straightforward 6-3, 6-3 defeat of Czech Klara Zakopalova, with 12th seed Sharapova completing a victory over Henin's Belgian countrywoman Kirsten Flipkens by the same score.

Now the champions start playing each other. Henin has a 6-3 record against Sharapova.

Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Venus and Serena Williams were among those who advanced, while defending women's champion Svetlana Kuznetsova was upset by fellow Russian Maria Kirilenko.

Sharapova won their most recent meeting in the quarterfinals of the 2008 Australian Open. That was Henin's last Grand Slam match before she retired.

Now the Belgian is mounting a career comeback and playing at Roland Garros for the first time since 2007.

"It's going to be an interesting match," Henin said. "Comes very early, of course, third round, but I expect a big fight as we always had in the past. It's going to be very exciting to play her again in the second career. The motivation is going to be really high just to keep going in this tournament."

Henin, seeded 22nd, has French Open winning streaks of 23 matches and 39 sets. The No. 12-seeded Sharapova is seeking the only Grand Slam title she has yet to win, and she said she's becoming more comfortable on clay.

The No. 6-seeded Kuznetsova, who saved four match points in the second round, lost to No. 30 Kirilenko 6-3, 2-6, 6-4. The upset knocks Kuznetsova out of the top 10 for the first time in four years.

The top-ranked Serena Williams won nine consecutive games and advanced to the third round by beating Julia Goerges of Germany 6- 1, 6-1. Four-time champion Nadal lost serve only once and beat Horacio Zeballos of Argentina 6-2, 6-2, 6-3.

Venus Williams reached the fourth round at Roland Garros for the first time since 2006 by beating No. 26 Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia 6-3, 6-4.

The top-ranked Federer reached the fourth round by beating qualifier Julian Reister of Germany 6-4, 6-0, 6-4. Federer never faced a break point and lost only five points on his first serve.

Federer will next play fellow Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka, who beat Fabio Fognini 6-3, 6-4, 6-1. Federer and Wawrinka teamed up to win the gold medal in doubles at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

Nadal has lost only 13 games through two rounds and next faces two-time Grand Slam champion Lleyton Hewitt, who outlasted Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan 1-6, 6-3, 6-4, 2-6, 6-2.

Djokovic, a two-time semifinalist seeded third, overcame nine double-faults for a second-round win over Kei Nishikori, 6-1, 6-4, 6-4.

Andy Murray, seeded fourth, moved into the fourth round by beating Marcos Baghdatis 6-2, 6-3, 0-6, 6-2.

No. 9 David Ferrer, led 6-2, 6-2, 2-0 when Xavier Malisse retired with a left hamstring injury. No. 19 Nicolas Almagro of Spain, No. 22 Jurgen Melzer of Austria and No. 31 Victor Hansecu of Romania also advanced.

Source: Xinhua


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