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Last Updated: Monday, 30 May, 2005, 13:38 GMT 14:38 UK
Brave Henin-Hardenne battles on
Justine Henin-Hardenne
Justine Henin-Hardenne showed real fighting spirit to beat sixth seed Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia and reach the French Open quarter-finals.

The Belgian looked to be physically spent as the match passed the three-hour mark and Kuznetsova had a match point.

But in keeping with a match in which the momentum swung from side to side, Henin-Hardenne dug deep once again.

And Kuznetsova then wilted to allow the Belgian a 7-6 4-6 7-5 victory.

Henin, who was the champion at Roland Garros in 2003, said she had drawn on all her experience and fighting spirit to fight back.

"It's a kind of miracle. I managed to stay in the match even though I was not able to play my best tennis," she said.

"I felt she was nervous when she had match point. I could see she was afraid to win the match. When you see that in the eyes of your opponent it makes you feel very good."

Kuznetsova also knew that victory had been hers for the taking.

"I feel like the match was in my hands, I had so many chances," she said after her seventh defeat in eight meetings with Henin-Hardenne.

"I was dictating the points and I felt much fitter than her. I guess maybe her experience showed in the end."

In contrast, Henin-Hardenne's last-eight opponent Maria Sharapova wasted little time in booking her place in the quarter-finals with victory over Spaniard Nuria Llagostera Vives.

The Russian second seed led 6-2 3-3 when play was halted on Sunday but broke immediately on Monday's resumption and did not drop a game as she closed out a 6-2 6-3 win.

Also in the last eight is Serbian Ana Ivanovic, who beat Italian 22nd seed Francesca Schiavone 6-4 6-7 6-3.

The 17-year-old will now play Russian Nadia Petrova for a semi-final place.

Twenty-ninth seed Ivanovic, playing her first French Open, needed nearly two-and-a-half hours to see off her opponent.

It is the second time that Wimbledon champion Sharapova has reached the last eight at Roland Garros.

And despite never having a tournament on clay, the Russian said she was growing in confidence on the surface.

"I think I've been playing a lot better in my last two rounds than I did in my first two," she said.

"I think I'm getting better and better. If people underestimate me on clay then they'll be surprised."

Highlights: Henin-Hardenne v Kuznetsova

Interview: Belgium's Justine Henin-Hardenne

News conference: Number two seed Maria Sharapova

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