August 31, 2006

Henin-Hardenne and Davenport march on

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 Thursday.

Henin-Hardenne crushed teenager Vania King 6-1 6-2 and
Davenport overwhelmed Croatia's Jelena Kostanic 6-0 6-0 on a
breezy upset-free day in Flushing Meadows under clear skies.

Top seed Amelie Mauresmo of France and Russian third seed
Maria Sharapova also marched on with straight-sets victories.

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

Second seed Rafael Nadal needed nearly three hours to
subdue Peru's Luis Horna 6-4 4-6 6-4 6-2 while former champion
Lleyton Hewitt advanced with a 6-4 6-2 6-2 victory over Jan
Hernych of the Czech Republic.

Twice former women's champion Serena Williams defeated 17th
seed Daniela Hantuchova 7-5 6-3 and was joined in the third
round by Russians Elena Dementieva, Nadia Petrova and Svetlana
Kuznetsova and Swiss Patty Schnyder.

Second seed Henin-Hardenne, the 2003 champion, blasted 22
winners in her match with King.


The Belgian, who swept past Italy's Maria Elena Camerin 6-2
6-1 in the opening round, said she did not mind having an easy
time early in the event.

"A win like this is better because physically you're not
going to find your limits, which is good," said five-times
grand slam champion, who will next face Ai Sugiyama of Japan.

"I thought it was a lot closer than 6-1 6-2," said the
17-year-old King, who was set to sing the national anthem in
the traditional ceremony which starts 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 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," said the 1998 champion. "It's funny
because yesterday it was really sore so I'm not really sure the
rhyme or reason for 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 wear and tear on her shoulder.

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

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

Mauresmo had a tough time with Meghann Shaughnessy before
winning 6-4 6-3, while Sharapova dismissed France's Emilie Loit
6-0 6-1 in 52 minutes.