Serena digs deep to oust Dushevina; Henin exits

Tennis: Foreign round-up: Younger Williams fights her way into third round

Serena digs deep to oust Dushevina; Henin exits

War cry: Serena Williams of the United States is ecstatic after beating Russia’s Vera Dushevina in the Madrid Open tennis tournament on Monday. AFP

The American world number one, who won her 12th Grand Slam title at January's Australian Open before injury sidelined her for three months, looked to be on her way out of the clay event when the Russian held a match point at 6-5 in the second set.

Berating herself and appealing to watching coach and father Richard Williams throughout the match, she clawed her way back and took the deciding set despite having a long treatment break for what appeared to be right thigh and lower back problems.

She squandered one match point with a wild backhand at 6-4 in the third-set tiebreak, but a ninth ace on the next point prompted a bellow of delight from the pink-clad 28-year-old.

Williams avoided the fate of three other Grand Slam champions, Justine Henin, Maria Sharapova and Svetlana Kuznetsova, who all exited in the first round.  In first round action, 16th seed Nadia Petrova beat Russian compatriot Elena Vesnina 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.

On Sunday, four-times French Open champion Justine Henin's preparations for the Roland Garros Grand Slam event suffered a shuddering jolt with defeat to France's Aravane Rezai in the first round.

Henin won the Stuttgart title on clay last week and is considered a dangerous outsider in Paris later this month but said she had been suffering from sickness since the German event and was not at 100 percent.

"When I came back from Stuttgart, I wasn't feeling well at all," she told a news conference.

Inconsistent
Her first serve was inconsistent and Rezai, the world number 22, took full advantage with a 4-6, 7-5, 6-0 win as the Belgian's game collapsed in the deciding set.

Henin beat Australia's Samantha Stosur in the final in Stuttgart last Sunday for her first title since she ended her 19-month self-imposed exile at the start of the year. She had been suffering infections in her nose and throat and had lacked energy on the court.
Fourth seed Venus Williams, also a former number one, had a much gentler day's work, the powerful American easing past Swiss qualifier Stefanie Voegele 6-4, 6-2.

Paes-Dlouhy get bye
Leander Paes and Lukas Dlouhy advanced to the pre-quarterfinals of the Madrid Masters after getting a first-round bye.

The third seeded Indo-Czech pair are now awaiting the winners of the Johan Brunstorm/Jean-Julien Rojer vs Guillermo Garcia-Lopez/Albert Montanes first round match.
Mahesh Bhupathi and his Belarusian partner Max Mairnyi are not competing in the event.

Montanes triumphs
In Lisbon, Spain's Albert Montanes won the Estoril Open for the second successive year by battling past local favourite Frederico Gil 6-2, 6-7, 7-5 on Sunday.

World number 133 Gil was the first Portuguese player to reach the Estoril final, and the convincing way he won his first game without losing a point made the home crowd believe he could upset an opponent 99 places above him in the rankings.  But clay-court specialist Montanes, had other ideas.

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