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Henin-Hardenne rallies to avoid upset


July 31, 2003

AP - Jul 31, 7:09 pm EDT
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CARLSBAD, Calif. (AP) -- Justine Henin-Hardenne, ranked No. 3 in the world, rallied from a set down to beat a fatigued Elena Dementieva in the third round of the Acura Classic on Thursday.

The third-seeded Henin-Hardenne trailed 4-2 in the second set and appeared to be in danger of failing to reach the quarterfinals of a tournament for the first time this year before rallying for the 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 victory.

``I was in trouble at this point of the match,'' the reigning French Open champion said. ``I wasn't finding the solution. She was being aggressive. I had nothing more to lose.''

Henin-Hardenne ran off four straight games to take the second set. She stormed through Dementieva in the third set to advance.

Second-seeded Kim Clijsters, the highest remaining seed since top-ranked Serena Williams withdrew with an injury, easily advanced to the quarters with a 6-1, 6-1 win over unseeded Marion Bartoli.

Fourth-seeded Lindsay Davenport faced unseeded Lina Krasnoroutskaya in a later match. The winner will play sixth-seeded Chanda Rubin in the quarterfinals.

The match between Henin-Hardenne and Dementieva turned around in the sixth game of the second set. The game lasted 12 points with numerous long rallies in the hot, humid conditions.

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After one long exchange, Henin-Hardenne dropped her racket and was bent over with her hands on her knees for about 15 seconds.

But despite winning the game and holding a 4-2 lead, it was Dementieva that came out worse in the situation.

``It was a very difficult moment of the match,'' she said. ``I gave everything I had. I felt tired and couldn't move.''

Henin-Hardenne allowed just five points in winning the final four games to win the set 6-4. The players were then given a 10-minute heat break after the second set.

When play resumed, Henin-Hardenne took a 4-0 lead and finished off the obviously tired Dementieva in the 2-hour, 18-minute match.

``I feel like I didn't have enough energy to finish the match,'' Dementieva said. ``I just lost my concentration. I couldn't find the rhythm. I felt like I was standing still and couldn't move at all.''

Nadia Petrova will play Henin-Hardenne in the quarterfinals after beating No. 7 seed Daniela Hantuchova 6-1, 6-3.

Clijsters dominated play as she took just 53 minutes to finish off Bartoli.

``I'm playing good enough to win these matches,'' said Clijsters, who needed only 46 minutes to win her first match on Tuesday.

Clijsters' quarterfinal-round opponent will be Lisa Raymond, who defeated Mary Pierce 7-6 (5), 6-4.

Rubin started slowly for the second straight match before scoring a 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over ninth-seeded Jelena Dokic.

Unseeded Russians Elena Likhovtseva and Svetlana Kuznetsova will meet in the quarters after upsetting seeded opponents.

Likhovtseva beat No. 10 Magdalena Maleeva 6-4, 6-3, and Kuznetsova was a 7-6 (4), 6-2 winner over No. 16 Elena Bovina.
 

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So, I am relieved, everything happened just like I thought. Alyona can really blame scheduling because Henin had a day off yesterday and Alyona had a tough match, and if she'd been just a bit fresher, she could have lasted those 2-3 games in the second set that separated her from victory. On the other hand, we don't know, if she'd have to play Schiavone on Tuesday, she might not have had enough time to adjust after jetlag and could have lost. Anyways, she showed that with fresh legs her hardcourt game is formidable, and I am looking forward to LA.
 

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Elena :sad: Good luck next tournament..
 
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