2003 AUSTRALIAN OPEN

Shaughnessy tops Bovina, advances to quarterfinals


Published: Monday, January 20, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 20, 2003 at 12:15 a.m.

MELBOURNE, Australia - Meghann Shaughnessy saved five break points in the final game and advanced to the Australian Open quarterfinals with a 5-7, 6-2, 6-4 victory over Elena Bovina on Monday.

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USA's Meghann Shaughnessy returns a shot against Elena Bovina from Russia at the Australian Open Tennis Tournament in Melbourne, Monday.

AP Photo/Rick Stevens

Meanwhile, Rainer Schuettler made the most of 2002 runner-up Marat Safin's withdrawal by reaching the final eight with a 6-3, 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 victory over James Blake.

Shaughnessy, a 23-year-old American who's seeded 25th, reached the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam event for the first time by winning her 11th straight match to start the year. Before the Australian, she won a warmup tournament in Canberra.

Serving for the match against Bovina, a U.S. Open quarterfinalist last year, Shaughnessy saved break points with an error by the 19-year-old Russian, a service winner, an overhead smash, an inside-out forehand and an ace.

After another service winner, she finished the 2-hour, 19-minute match when the 20th-seeded Bovina netted a backhand serve return.

Shaughnessy's previous best showing in a major came at the 2001 French Open and Wimbledon, where she reached the fourth round.

Schuettler gained a free pass into the fourth round when Safin withdrew with a wrist injury after falling in an earlier match.

Schuettler, a 26-year-old German who had never reached a Grand Slam quarterfinal before, rebounded from early service breaks by Blake in the first two sets.

In the final set, the two traded service breaks in the fourth and fifth games, and Schuettler gained the key break in the sixth when Blake double-faulted. Schuettler finished with a forehand down the line that Blake couldn't handle at the net.

The 23-year-old Blake, playing in a Grand Slam event's fourth round for the first time, had 35 errors, compared with 19 by Schuettler.

On Sunday, Venus Williams waltzed into the quarterfinals, while Justine Henin-Hardenne just about had to crawl there, writhing with leg cramps near the end of her three-set victory over Lindsay Davenport.

``I thought I was going to die,'' Henin-Hardenne said. ``But I played with heart and just went for it.''

After being treated with ice on the court, the Belgian defeated the once top-ranked Davenport 7-5, 5-7, 9-7 in 3 hours, 13 minutes.

Williams enjoyed a far easier outing Sunday, beating Nicole Pratt of Australia 6-3, 6-2 in 77 minutes. Williams is on course for a possible semifinal with Henin-Hardenne and a potential fourth straight Grand Slam final against younger sister Serena.

Henin-Hardenne had just missed on one match point and was tied 7-7 with Davenport. Then she was down on the court, clutching her leg. Following her courtside treatment, Henin-Hardenne went back out for her second serve at 0-15 and whipped an ace into the far corner.

Davenport said she knew Henin-Hardenne would return to the court, even to ``just stand there.''

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