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Kuznetsova dashes Henin hopes of Melbourne title

January 21, 2011 10:28 IST

Seven-times Grand Slam winner Justine Henin was knocked out of the Australian Open in the third round on Friday, the 11th-seeded 2004 champion losing to Russia's Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-4, 7-6.

Last year's fairytale story when she reached the final after her return from retirement, the Belgian lost only her third match in 19 meetings with the Russian 23rd-seed after a tight 79-minute second set.

Henin, who had returned to Grand Slam action after being sidelined for six months with an elbow injury sustained at Wimbledon, struggled with 41 unforced errors but fought back gamely after losing the first set.

She broke back twice to take an increasingly nervous Kuznetsova into a tiebreak and saved three match points before slapping a forehand into the tramlines on the fourth to concede the match to the two-time Grand Slam champion Kuznetsova.

Svetlana Kuznetsova"I'm really pleased with way I played today, especially in the first set," Kuznetsova said in a courtside interview.

"After that it's tennis, you get nerves, I wanted to win so much and it was a great atmosphere. Match-by-match, I'm getting better and better, it's a real pleasure for me to play on this court today," she added.

Kuznetsova will next play French Open champion Francesca Schiavone.

Wozniacki breezes into last 16

Meanwhile, world number one Caroline Wozniacki continued her fuss-free run at the Australian Open on Friday, prevailing 6-4, 6-3 over a wasteful Dominika Cibulkova to break into the last 16.

In an uninspiring match at Rod Laver Arena in which both players threw away their serves cheaply, Dane Wozniacki's patience paid off as she waited for Slovak Cibulkova to crumble in decisive points.

Cibulkova saved one match point at 5-3 in the second but sprayed a forehand wide, one of 41 unforced errors, to allow Wozniacki to wrap up the match 92 minutes.

The win was revenge for Wozniacki, who was dumped out of the second round of the Sydney International by Cibulkova in the lead-up to Melbourne Park.

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