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Henin moves on at U.S. Open, Rolle out

Ben Walker
Associated Press
Vail, CO Colorado
Amy Sancetta/APJustine Henin of Belgium returns a volley in her victory over Ekaterina Makarova of Russian at the US Open, Friday.
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NEW YORK ” Top-seeded Justine Henin quickly chased another qualifier, taking only 50 minutes Friday to breeze into a fourth-round matchup with No. 15 Dinara Safina.

Henin won the first 10 games, approached the net more often than usual and chased Ekaterina Makarova of Russia 6-0, 6-2.

The former Open champion from Belgium beat her third straight opponent from outside the top 100. Not that she worried about getting a vigorous warmup.



“A big part of my success is that I’ve always been very focused on myself in the last few years,” Henin said. “Don’t look too much on the other side of the net.”

Next up for Henin is Safina, the Russian who chased American Ahsha Rolle 6-4, 6-3. The sister of former Open champ Marat Safin never permitted a break chance.



“Obviously, she has more experience than me,” Rolle said. “I feel like I had a couple of bad shot selections that kind of cost me big games.”

Rafael Nadal, Venus and Serena Williams and the Serbian trio of Novak Djokovic, Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic were scheduled to play later.

As fans straggled into Flushing Meadows on an overcast day, there was talk about what happened the previous night, and what was coming up.



In a match that stretched from Thursday night into early Friday, James Blake outlasted Fabrice Santoro 6-4, 3-6, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4.

Blake had been 0-9 in fifth sets, and this matched ended with both rackets on the court.

Blake dropped his when he lifted his arms, as much in relief as exultation. Santoro flung his toward the ball, a desperate and failed attempt to extend an entertaining U.S. Open match that went past midnight.

In a tournament where the favorites have ruled, the most intriguing match was set for Saturday: three-time Open champ Roger Federer vs. 6-foot-9 rookie John Isner.

“Isner’s going to be very tall,” former winner Andy Roddick said, “and Roger’s going to be very good.”

After the final point, Blake and Santoro met at the net for a sweaty embrace and an exchange of compliments, both pleased to have been a part of the excitement under the lights at Arthur Ashe Stadium ” although Blake, the winner, was certainly the happier of the two.

“I actually, honestly said to myself at the beginning of the fifth set: ‘I’m going to win this match,”‘ Blake said. “The whole five-set jinx never got into my head. But this time, I said, ‘I’m not going to let it happen.”‘

Earlier in the day, Roddick and Maria Sharapova advanced.


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