Henin, Kuznetsova advance

Dubai, February 28:

Top-ranked Justine Henin was stretched to the limit by Slovenia qualifier Katarina Srebotnik 7-5, 6-7 (6), 6-3 to reach the Dubai Championships quarter-finals.

The four-time defending champion improved to 17-0 in Dubai. Henin will next face Italian Francesca Schiavone. Svetlana Kuznetsova cruised past Czech Lucie Safarova 6-1, 6-2 and will meet Amelie Mauresmo, who struggled past lucky loser Akiko Morigami of Japan 4-6, 6-1, 6-4.

No 3 Ana Ivanovic, the Australian Open runner-up, showed no sign of the ankle injury that forced her out of last week’s Qatar Open when she dominated Czech Nicole Vaidisova 6-4, 6-0 in her Dubai debut. No 4 Jelena Jankovic, a former finalist, needed all her grit

and experience to beat Indian wild card Sania Mirza 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Russians Anna Chakvetadze and Elena Dementieva, seeded No 6 and 8, also won. Chakvetadze overcame compatriot Dinara Safina 6-7 (3), 6-4, 6-3, and Dementieva beat Ukrainian Alona Bondarenko 6-2, 6-1.

RMK C’ships

MEMPHIS: Defending champion Tommy Haas was ousted by German compatriot Benjamin Becker 3-6, 6-2, 7-5 in the second round of the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships. Seventh-seeded Jurgen Melzer lost to Steve Darcis of Belgium 6-3, 7-6 (4) but No 4 Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic moved into the last eight for a second straight week by beating Florent Serra of France 7-6 (6), 2-6, 7-5. No 8 Robin Soderling, the 2006 finalist, won his first-rounder against Canadian qualifier Frederic Niemeyer 6-2, 6-1.

In the women’s Cellular South Cup, three-time Grand Slam champion Lindsay Davenport dispatched Russian Evgeniya Rodina 6-1, 6-1 to reach the quarter-finals on debut.

Next up, Davenport will meet sixth-seeded Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark, who defeated 15-year-old Michelle Larcher de Brito of Portugal 6-2, 6-4.

Third-seeded Shahar Peer of Israel, last year’s runner-up, beat Melinda Czink of Hungary 6-0, 3-6, 6-2 to move on and play qualifier Marina Erakovic of New Zealand. The Kiwi reached her second career WTA quarterfinal with a 7-5, 6-3 defeat of American wild card Amber Liu.

Abierto Mexicano

ACAPULCO: Sixth-seeded Nicolas Almagro reached his third straight quarter-finals on Latin America’s claycourt swing when he defeated Italian Filippo Volandri 6-3, 6-3 in the Abierto Mexicano on Wednesday.

Fourth-seeded Guillermo Canas, who started his 2008 season only on Tuesday with a first-round victory, lost his second match when he was overcome by fellow Argentine, the in-form Jose Acasuso, 4-6, 6-2, 6-2.

Acasuso will face Spanish qualifier Marcel Granollers-Pujol after he beat countryman Albert Montanes 6-2, 7-6 (6).

In women’s play, top-seeded Flavia Pennetta downed Germany’s Julia Schruff 6-2, 6-3. Second-seeded Alize Cornet of France beat Mexican wild card Melissa Torres Sandoval 6-2, 6-0 but third-seeded Klara Zakopalova of the Czech Republic was upset by American veteran Jill Craybas 6-1, 4-6, 7-6 (2).