Henin, Hingis in Dubai QF

Defending champion Justine Henin and 2001 winner Martina Hingis advanced to the Dubai Women's Open quarterfinals on Wednesday.

updated: March 22, 2007 06:37 IST
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Defending champion Justine Henin survived a major scare from 16-year-old qualifier Tamira Paszek before advancing to the Dubai Women's Open quarterfinals on Wednesday. Top-seeded Henin's spotless Dubai record - she has yet to lose a match in four visits - was on the brink of ending when Paszek was one point from serving for the match in the second set. However, Henin's experience prevailed 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 in just under two-and-a-half hours. "I wasn't feeling very comfortable, very nervous in fact," Henin said. Martina Hingis, the 2001 winner, also came through a battle against Anabel Medina Garrigues of Spain to win 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 in 2 hours, 40 minutes. Hingis converted only five of 17 break chances. In contrast, second-seeded Amelie Mauresmo romped past Vera Dushevina of Russia 6-2, 6-2, setting up a quarterfinal with No. 8 Daniela Hantuchova, who was pushed to the end by Russia's Maria Kirilenko 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (4). In other second-round matches, third-seed Svetlana Kuznetsova beat Meghann Shaughnessy of the United States, 6-1, 7-6 (4), fifth-seeded Jelena Jankovoic moved past Mara Santangelo of Italy 6-3, 7-5, and sixth-seeded Patty Schnyder overcame Alicia Molik of Australia 4-6, 6-2, 6-4. Daniilidou in last eight Eleni Daniilidou of Greece, ranked 42nd, became the only non-seed and player ranked outside the top 20 to reach the quarterfinals when she beat Ai Sugiyama of Japan 5-7, 6-1, 7-5. Daniilidou's reward was a matchup against Henin. Henin landed only 47 per cent of her first serves in the first set, and Paszek, who became one of the youngest women ever to win a tour title last year, won three of Henin's service games. In the second set, the young Austrian had a break point at 5-5 but couldn't convert. "I was very close to losing," Henin said. "I probably needed this kind of a match, and I am very happy that I won this one. It was a really tough one. She played very well." Mauresmo, winner of last week's tournament in Antwerp, said she next expected a tough match against Hantuchova, who has beaten the world No 3 in three of their five matches. "We know each other pretty well," Mauresmo said. "The important thing for me would be to try to get into my own rhythm and be aggressive." Hantuchova fought hard to climb back from a set down in an engrossing battle against Kirilenko. Kirilenko broke Hantuchova as she served for the match in the third set to force a tiebreaker. But a double fault by the Russian handed Hantuchova the initiative. "We both played at a very good level and I had to play really well to get through. I guess my belief made the difference. I fought for every point," Hanutchova said. In other quarterfinals, Kuznetsova faces Schnyder, and Hingis plays Jankovic.