Originally created 03/17/04

Top-ranked Federer, Henin-Hardenne advance



INDIAN WELLS, Calif. -- Top-ranked Roger Federer and Justine Henin-Hardenne moved into the quarterfinals of the Pacific Life Open by winning in straight sets Tuesday.

So did Andre Agassi and Lindsay Davenport.

Henin-Hardenne closed out the more than 12 hours of day-and-night tennis at Indian Wells with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Barbora Strycova, shortly after Agassi beat Mikhail Youzhny 7-5, 6-2.

Federer ran his record for the year to 19-1 with a methodical 6-4, 6-1 victory over Mardy Fish. It was the Swiss star's 24th win in 25 matches dating back to his Tennis Masters Cup championship last November.

Agassi was down 4-2, 40-love to his 21-year-old Russian opponent in the first set before beginning a comeback.

"The first set was a bit dodgy, to say the least," Agassi said. "It could have gone either way there for sure, down 4-2, 40-love.

"At that stage, I was just trying to get myself to relax and hit the shots I know I'm capable of."

He did just that, hitting accurate groundstrokes to keep Youzhny deep and scrambling from side to side the rest of the way.

Former No. 1 Davenport, back at full strength after fighting injuries the past three years, beat Meghann Shaughnessy 6-1, 6-3.

Juan Ignacio Chela, who ousted two-time defending champion Lleyton Hewitt a day earlier, came back with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Tommy Haas in the fourth round.

Fourth-seeded Guillermo Coria lost the first set of his match against Sebastien Grosjean, but bounced back to win 3-6, 7-6 (2), 6-2.

Federer played his usual steady game to beat Fish, making just 11 unforced errors to Fish's 28. Fish also had five double faults.

Chela followed his three-set win over Hewitt - ending the Australian's 13-match winning streak - with a similarly consistent performance against Haas.

The 24-year-old Argentine was especially effective with his spinning, hard-to-handle second serves, winning points on 15 of his 18 in the match.

"I think that my match with Hewitt gave me a lot of confidence," said the 34th-ranked Chela, speaking through an interpreter. "I'm ready for the most important points, to get them and carry it out."

Haas, a former No. 2 coming back from 2002 shoulder surgery that sidelined him all last year, complimented Chela.

"He counter-punched really well the whole time," Haas said. "He didn't make any easy mistakes, played really solid and hit all the balls back."

Davenport, ranked No. 4, looked entirely back in form. She has lost only seven games in three matches this week at Indian Wells, where she has appeared in four of the last seven finals and won twice.

She underwent surgery last October to sever a nerve between the third and fourth toes on her left foot and relieve pain that had been hampering her.

Because of a string of ailments that began in 2001, Davenport was beginning to wonder if she should call it a career at 27.

She said the thought crossed her mind while she was in Hawaii last fall that "Maybe I'm done."

She laughed and added, "Certainly sitting on a beach in Hawaii, I seemed very close. But it always seems like you never want to come back from Hawaii."