August 31, 2006

Henin-Hardene, Davenport advance easily at U.S. Open

By Steve Ginsburg

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Former champions Justine
Henin-Hardenne and Lindsay Davenport remained on course for a
quarter-final showdown with lopsided second-round victories at
the U.S. Open on Thursday.

Henin-Hardenne whipped American Vania King 6-1 6-2 in just
over an hour, while Davenport overwhelmed Croatia's Jelena
Kostanic 6-0 6-0 on a breezy day with clear skies.

While the top women progressed without a hitch, retiring
Andre Agassi will find himself in the spotlight when he faces
eighth seed Marcos Baghdatis during the night session in what
could be the final match of his illustrious two-decade career.

Also in action Thursday were Rafael Nadal, Lleyton Hewitt,
Amelie Mauresmo, Maria Sharapova and Martina Hingis.

Second seed Henin-Hardenne, the 2003 Open champion, had no
problem with King despite committing 18 unforced errors.

"I thought it was a lot closer than 6-1 6-2," said the
17-year-old King, who was set to sing them national anthem
before the evening session.

"I made her play a lot of balls. But I didn't convert a lot
of the points I should have."

Davenport blitzed Kostanic in just 40 minutes, showing no
sign of the shoulder injury that forced her to retire during
the final of last week's event in New Haven.

"It's feeling better," the 1998 Open champion said about
the injury. "It's funny because yesterday it was really sore,
and then today it was feeling much better.

"So I'm not really sure the rhyme or reason to it."

The 30-year-old Davenport uncharacteristically ventured to
the net during the match but claimed she was not trying to
quicken the points to save some wear and tear on her shoulder.

"I think she has the type of game that I had some more time
to be able to do that," she said. "I wasn't trying to make the
point shorter, I was trying just to be aggressive."

Next up for 10th seed Davenport will be either Katarina
Srebotnik of Slovenia or Russian Ekaterina Bychkova.

Another former champion, Russian sixth seed Svetlana
Kuznetsova, was also in ominous form and trounced American
wildcard Lauren Albanese 6-1 6-1.