Hingis, Clijsters advance to Australian Open quarters

Jan 22, 2007 - 6:41 AM MELBOURNE, Australia (Ticker) -- Martina Hingis' year-long wait to get even with Kim Clijsters will soon come to an end.

The sixth-seeded Hingis is headed for her second consecutive quarterfinal showdown with No. 4 Clijsters at the Australian Open after both posted fourth-round victories on Monday.

A three-time winner here (1997-1999), Hingis dropped her first set of this year's tournament before rallying for a 4-6, 6-3, 6-0 triumph over China's Na Li in their first career meeting.

The Swiss superstar took advantage of Li's 69 unforced errors to reach the quarterfinals for the ninth time in 10 appearances here. In addition to her three titles, Hingis is also a three-time runner-up (2000-2002).

Clijsters defeated Slovakia's Daniela Hantuchova for the ninth time in as many meetings with a 6-1, 7-5 victory. The Belgian has won all but one set in the rivalry, losing that set at Filderstadt in 2002.

"I think I played one looser game," Clijsters said. "That made her really step it up. I let her back into the match. I think what I did really well in the beginning of the match was definitely dominating the points. As soon as I got a shorter ball or as soon as I felt like the court was opening up for me, (I tried) to go to that open corner."

The 2005 U.S. Open champ, Clijsters edged Hingis, 6-3, 2-6, 6-4, in the quarterfinals last year before retiring in the semis against eventual champion Amelie Mauresmo of France with a right ankle sprain.

Clijsters has won the last three showdowns with Hingis to level their head-to-head record for 4-4, including a victory at last year's French Open quarterfinals.

"We always have a lot of fun points when you play against Martina," Clijsters said. "She always comes up with some unbelievable shots that you don't expect.

"Sometimes when you play a player, you kind of get used to their routine. You know kind of when they're going to play down the line (or) cross-court. With her, you always have to be ready to go the other way."

No. 12 Anna Chakvetadze of Russia evened her career series against eighth-seeded Patty Schnyder of Switzerland with a 6-4, 6-1 triumph.

"I started very slow today," Chakvetadze said. "But you have to get used to Patty's game because she plays with so much spin. (The) ball is bouncing so high here.

"Vodafone (Arena) is a little bit different court because I played (the) outside courts (for) all my matches. I just had to get used to it. Then I found my rhythm and played better."

Chakvetadze will meet the winner of the lone remaining fourth-round match between No. 1 Maria Sharapova and fellow-Russian Vera Zvonareva.

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