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Serena storms into quarterfinals

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BREEZING THROUGH: Nicole Vaidisova eased past Tathiana Garbin.
BREEZING THROUGH: Nicole Vaidisova eased past Tathiana Garbin.

Federer, Vaidisova and Henin advance

PARIS: Serena Williams beat Dinara Safina of Russia 6-2, 6-3 to set up a quarterfinal showdown with two-time defending champion Justine Henin at the French Open.

Serena, an eight-time Grand Slam champion who is trying to win her second title at Roland Garros, took a 4-0 lead in the first set, but struggled at times in the second.

Roger Federer also advanced to the quarterfinals, beating No. 13 Mikhail Youzhny of Russia 7-6(3), 6-4, 6-4. The top-ranked Swiss star tied the Grand Slam record for most consecutive sets won in the Open era, taking his streak to 35.

``I've got enough shirts for five-set matches in the bag,'' Federer said. ``I only used one today.''

Victory over Youzhny was Federer's 10th in 10 meetings with the 24-year-old Russian, but he wasn't at his best, making an uncharacteristic 41 unforced errors.

He also wobbled at the climax of the tie when he needed three match points to secure victory.

``It was tough but I stayed calm and I was happy to get through,'' said the World No. 1. ``Maybe it's because we have similar games. Maybe I hit my forehand better, have more firepower, more confidence.

``I didn't start well today but I got in the groove and I was pretty rock solid.''

Fabulous record

Federer hasn't lost a set at a major tournament since dropping the second set of last year's U.S. Open final against Andy Roddick. He won the last two sets of that match, then won all seven of his matches at the Australian Open in January in straight sets becoming the first man to win a Grand Slam title without dropping a set since Bjorn Borg at the 1980 French Open.

Federer next faces No. 9 Tommy Robredo, who defeated No. 29 Filippo Volandri of Italy 6-2, 7-5, 6-1. Federer beat Robredo at the Australian Open.

Guillermo Canas defeated Juan Monaco 6-0, 6-4, 6-2. Canas, who beat Federer twice this year, could meet the 10-time Grand Slam champion in the semifinals.

This is Canas's first major since serving a 15-month ban for doping after testing positive for a diuretic in 2005.

On the women's side, the 10th-seeded Safina broke Serena at love to even the second set at 3-3, but the American then won 12 of the last 14 points.

``It was definitely better today,'' said Serena, who missed the last two French Opens with injury but won the Australian Open in January.

Safina hurt herself with five double-faults, but her powerful groundstrokes keep Serena moving all over the court.

``She hit hard, then she hit lobs, then she hit soft balls,'' Serena said. ``She really gave me a lot of different pace.''

Henin, who is trying to win her third French Open title, beat No. 20 Sybille Bammer 6-2, 6-4.

``I know she's playing great, but I never count myself out,'' said Serena, who lost to Henin in a contentious 2003 French Open semifinal.

Serena has won both their matches since, including the final at Key Biscayne, Florida, in March.

``I will just have to be focused on my goal,'' Henin said. ``I want to win this match and I will give everything I can.''

The third-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova advanced by beating No. 15 Shahar Peer of Israel 6-4, 6-3, while No. 6 Nicole Vaidisova reached the quarterfinals by defeating No. 19 Tathiana Garbin of Italy 6-3, 6-1. ``I feel like I'm getting better on clay,'' said Vaidisova, who reached the semifinals at Roland Garros last year and also made the last four at this year's Australian Open. ``For some people it's a tough surface, but I like playing on it.''

The seventh-seeded Ana Ivanovic beat No. 24 Anabel Medina Garrigues of Spain 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 and will face Kuznetsova in the quarterfinals.

Mixed bag

Leander Paes and Meghann Shaughnessy survived a scare but Sania Mirza and Fabrice Santoro were knocked out of the mixed doubles.

Paes and American Shaughnessy played well only in patches but managed to beat Marcin Matkowski of Poland and Sybille Bammer of Austria 6-2, 0-6, 10-8 to advance to the quarterfinals.

Sania and Santoro were not so lucky as Katernia Srebotnik of Slovakia and Nenad Zimonjic of Serbia snuffed out their late challenge to win 6-2, 7-6(1) in a second round tie.

The defeat marked the end of Sania's campaign at the clay court Grand Slam.

The 20-year-old is already out of the singles and the women's doubles.

The Results

Prefix denotes seeding

Women: Fourth round: 4-Jelena Jankovic (Srb) bt 18-Marion Bartoli (Fra) 6-1, 6-1; 7-Ana Ivanovic (Srb) bt 24-Anabel Medina (ESP) 6-3, 3-6, 6-3; 1-Justine Henin (Bel) bt 20-Sybille Bammer (Aut) 6-2, 6-4; 8-Serena Williams (U.S.) bt 10-Dinara Safina (Rus) 6-2, 6-3; 6-Nicole Vaidisova (Cze) bt 19-Tathiana Garbin (Ita) 6-3, 6-1.

Men: Fourth round: 9-Tommy Robredo (ESP) bt 29-Filippo Volandri (Ita) 6-2, 7-5, 6-1; 1-Roger Federer (Sui) bt 13-Mikhail Youzhny (Rus) 7-6(3), 6-4, 6-4; 19-Guillermo Canas (Arg) bt Juan Monaco (Arg) 6-0, 6-4, 6-2.

Third round: 14-Lleyton Hewitt (Aus) bt Jarkko Nieminen 1-6, 6-3, 7-5, 6-2; 6-Novak Djokovic (Srb) bt Olivier Patience 7-6(2), 2-6, 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-3; 2-Rafael Nadal (Esp) bt Albert Montanes (Esp) 6-1, 6-3, 6-2; Igor Andreev (Rus); Paul-Henri Mathieu (Fra) 7-6(4), 6-0, 6-3; 23-Carlos Moya (Esp) bt Juan Pablo Brzezicki (Arg) 6-1, 6-3, 7-5.

Doubles: Men: Second round: Mahesh Bhupathi (Ind) & Radek Stepanek (Cze) bt Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (ESP) & Filippo Volandri (Ita) 6-1, 6-3.

Mixed doubles: First round: Meghann Shaughnessy (U.S.) & Leander Paes (Ind) bt Chan Yung-jan (Tai) & 7-Mike Bryan (U.S.) 6-2, 6-0; Tathiana Garbin (Ita) & Paul Hanley (Aus) bt Paola Suarez (Arg) & Mahesh Bhupathi (Ind) 7-6(4), 6-3.

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