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Serena, Henin storm into French QF
June 03, 2007 18:58 IST
Favourites Serena Williams [Images] and Justine Henin marched into the quarterfinals of the French Open on Sunday with straight-sets victories. Also making it to the last eight were Russia's Svetlana Kuznetsova and Czech teenager Nicole Vaidisova.
Williams reached the 19th Grand Slam quarter-final of her career with a comfortable 6-2, 6-3 defeat of Russian Dinara Safina while Henin, bidding for a French Open hat-trick, beat Austria's Sybille Bammer 6-2 6-4 in the fourth round.
Henin's relentless progress towards a third straight French Open title continued on Sunday.
The 25-year-old top seed has now won 29 consecutive sets at Roland Garros stretching back to 2005 and will face old foe Serena Williams in the quarter-finals.
It was plain sailing for Henin until she was twice broken in the second set as Bammer pegged her back to 4-4.
The world number one quickly regained her poise, however, and finished off her opponent after one hour 24 minutes.
Williams, the sole American player remaining in either singles draw surged into a 4-0 lead and was always in control.
Only briefly in the second set did 10th seed Safina, one of four Russians in the last 16, threaten to make a contest of it when she broke the Williams serve for the first time.
She had another chance at 2-2, but Williams snuffed out the danger and sped away to victory in one hour and 17 minutes.
The 2002 champion will face either top seed and winner for the last two years Justine Henin or Austrian Sybille Bammer in the last eight.
A fired-up Kuznetsova foiled Shahar Peer's bid to become the first Israeli woman to reach the quarter-finals of the French Open with a brisk 6-4 6-3 victory.
The Russian third seed had come off second best in their two previous meetings and was determined to break that dubious run, winning the 44-minute first set when her 20-year-old opponent smacked a backhand long.
In the second, Kuznetsova outclassed the 15th seed with her superior baseline tactics to streak ahead 5-1.
After failing to serve out the match on her first attempt, the 2004 U.S. Open champion made no mistake second time round and tapped away a backhand to seal the 81-minute victory.
She will next face either rising Serb Ana Ivanovic or Spain's Anabel Medina Garrigues.
Vaidisova became the first player to reach the quarter-finals of the French Open when she crushed Italy's Tathiana Garbin 6-3 6-1 in a fourth-round match on Sunday.
The youngest player left in the draw at 18, sixth-seeded Vaidisova proved far too strong for Garbin, the oldest at 29, needing just 66 minutes to brush her opponent aside.
World number 10 Vaidisova, who burst into the limelight by reaching the semi-finals here last year, was in complete control from the opening game up until when Garbin netted a forehand on the first match point.
Vaidisova goes on to meet Serbia's Jelena Jankovic or Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli for a place in the semi-finals.
The French Open 2007 coverage