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Henin Beats Rain to Reach First U.S. Quarter-Final
Mon Sep 1,11:49 PM ET Add Sports - Reuters to My Yahoo!

By Ossian Shine

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Justine Henin-Hardenne finally got on court late at night after rain had all-but obliterated U.S. Open (news - web sites) action on Monday and took just 57 minutes to eliminate Dinara Safina to reach her first quarter-final at this event.

Reuters Photo

Slideshow: Tennis: U.S. Open

The Belgian second seed romped into the last eight with a 6-0 6-3 victory at the end of a drenched day eight of the hardcourt grand slam.

"It was a great atmosphere ... a late match but I have tomorrow off so it's perfect," Henin-Hardenne said at courtside.

Both Henin-Hardenne and her Russian opponent had been forced to take the law into their own hands to prevent them being called off court by tournament referee Brian Earley.

With just one match having been completed all day, Earley had asked Henin-Hardenne and Safina to leave center court at 2215 (0215 GMT) as light rain fell over Flushing Meadows.

But Henin-Hardenne and Safina -- sister of 2000 men's champion Marat Safin -- both indicated they wanted to play as incensed tennis fans, many who had waited all day in the rain, roared and howled their displeasure and jeered the referee.

"She (Henin-Hardenne) said to me 'no it's fine, it's okay," Earley said afterwards.

"If they're happy to play then I'm happy to let 'em."

Certainly Henin-Hardenne was the happier of the two players at the end of the match after a display of power and poise.

She reeled off the first 11 games of the match before allowing Safina to save face and bag three compensation games.

"The referee said we are going to wait a little bit more ... it was frustrating," the Belgian said.

"They knew the rain was going to stop we just had to wait a little bit more."

Henin-Hardenne will face either seventh seed Anastasia Myskina or Mary Pierce (news) in the quarter-finals.
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