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FRENCH OPEN

Fear factor is her advantage

Henin-Hardenne ousts Kuznetsova

PARIS -- Maria Sharapova won in 10 minutes yesterday at the French Open. Justine Henin-Hardenne took a lot longer.

Henin-Hardenne played for 3 hours 15 minutes, overcoming two match points in the fourth round, to beat reigning US Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, 7-6 (6), 4-6, 7-5.

''It was a bit of a miracle," Henin-Hardenne said. ''I was seeing her very nervous. She was afraid to win the match. That was very clear. When you can see that in the eyes of your opponent, that is very good for myself."

The Belgian's opponent in the quarterfinals today will be the second-seeded Sharapova, who swept the final three games to complete a match suspended overnight because of rain. She beat Nuria Llagostera Vives, 6-2, 6-3.

On the men's side, reigning Australian Open champion Marat Safin, seeded third, lost to No. 15 Tommy Robredo, 7-5, 1-6, 6-1, 4-6, 8-6.

Both 2004 men's finalists were eliminated. Defending champion Gaston Gaudio blew a 4-0 lead in the last set and lost in four hours to No. 20 David Ferrer, 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (5), 5-7, 6-4.

''I got too nervous, I guess, and after that I couldn't do anything," Gaudio said. ''Always to lose is disappointing. Losing like this is even worse."

No. 8 Guillermo Coria, beaten by Gaudio in last year's final, lost to No. 12 Nikolay Davydenko, 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (1), 6-2. Davydenko plays Robredo in the quarterfinals.

No. 4 Rafael Nadal of Spain advanced to his first Grand Slam quarterfinal by beating No. 23 Sebastien Grosjean of France, 6-4, 3-6, 6-0, 6-3. The match was suspended Sunday night in the third set because of rain, and earlier was interrupted for 10 minutes when a chair umpire's ruling against Grosjean brought sustained jeers from the center-court crowd.

''The crowd yesterday didn't really behave as they maybe should behave when watching a match," Nadal said. ''But this is France, it's not Spain. I've never seen anything like that in Spain, that's for sure. It was just a really silly thing."

Nadal, 18, extended his winning streak to 21 matches, all on clay. He'll next face Ferrer, a fellow Spaniard.

Safin threw a brief tantrum in the third set of his marathon, leaving a hole in the base of his wooden changeover chair when he smashed it with a racket. He eventually regained his composure but committed 73 unforced errors and lost in 3 hours 50 minutes.

Henin-Hardenne occasionally grimaced from a back injury that has bothered her for weeks, but she still rallied past Kuznetsova, sweeping the final four games and the last seven points.

Kuznetsova, seeded sixth, conceded that nerves got the best of her.

''She didn't win it. I lost," the Russian said.

Seeded No. 10, Henin-Hardenne won her third three-set match in four rounds. The 2003 Roland Garros champion ran her winning streak to 21 matches, all on clay, and improved to 24-1 since returning in March from a seven-month layoff because of a blood virus and knee injury.

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