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TORONTO: New world No 1 Kim Clijsters crashed out of the US$1.3 million Canadian Open on Thursday when she lost 1-6, 6-4, 6-1 to unseeded Russian Lina Krasnoroutskaya in the third round.

But Clijsters's fellow Belgian, second seed Justine Henin-Hardenne, went through to the quarter-finals with a 6-3, 7-5 victory over Russian Nadia Petrova.

Her defeat marked the first time Clijsters has failed to make the semi-finals of an event this season.

"I didn't have the best preparation coming into the tournament, but I decided to play and go for it and today I just didn't have the batteries in the second and third sets," she told reporters.

"After coming here from Los Angeles, and the jet lag, it was difficult. But she played very well in the second and third sets and she didn't make any mistakes," added Clijsters.

The Belgian, who took over the top spot from Serena Williams with her title triumph in Los Angeles last week, looked poised for an easy workout as she raced through the opening set in 19 minutes.

Unforced errors

Playing in her fifth straight event, a tired Clijsters watched the match slip away in the second set behind a string of unforced errors.

Krasnoroutskaya, whose previous best performance was reaching the semi-finals in Doha, kept up the pressure in the third set to secure a quarter-final clash with Slovenia's Katarina Srebotnik.

"I'm very surprised," said the 19-year-old Krasnoroutskaya, ranked No 41 in the world.

"I didn't expect it from myself. I had nothing to lose. She's the number one in the world and I just did it."

Amelie Mauresmo of France, the third seed and defending champion, advanced with a 6-4, 6-2 triumph over Fabiola Zuluaga of Colombia.

Mauresmo was joined in the last eight by a trio of Russians - ninth seed Elena Dementieva, 10th seed Vera Zvonareva and 12th seed Elena Bovina - and the unseeded Paola Suarez of Argentina.

Suarez upset fourth seed Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia 6-2, 6-0 while Zvonareva put out eighth-seeded Yugoslav Jelena Dokic 6-3, 6-2.

Dementieva overcame fifth seed Anastasia Myskina of Russia 2-6, 6-1, 6-1 and Bovina notched a 6-2, 6-1 win over seventh-seeded South African Amanda Coetzer.

Roddick leads

Meanwhile, Andy Roddick led a trio of young Americans into the quarter-finals of the US$2.45 million Cincinnati Masters Series with a 7-6, 6-2 victory over compatriot James Blake on Thursday.

Roddick, 20, billed as the player most likely to emulate Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi, is enjoying the form of his life but said the unseeded Blake, his friend and Davis Cup teammate, had "played better for much of the match."

"I can definitely imagine myself winning a slam now," Roddick said. "A couple of months ago, that wasn't the case. Maybe I'm one of the favourites for the US Open."

The seventh seed, seeking back-to-back Masters Series titles having won in Montreal last week, was indebted to Blake's inconsistencies early on but, once the first set was secured, he left his opponent in his wake.

Roddick could become the new leader of the Champions Race if he wins this week, and his latest triumph in front of a packed centre-court crowd came after fellow Americans Robby Ginepri and Mardy Fish had also advanced.

Argentine sixth seed Guillermo Coria and compatriot David Nalbandian progressed.

Earlier, Ginepri overcame Argentine Gaston Gaudio - the conqueror of Juan Carlos Ferrero on Wednesday - 6-1, 7-6. Fish, 21, beat Frenchman Arnaud Clement 6-2, 6-2 to register his best performance at a Masters Series event.

Clay court specialist Coria showed why he could be a dangerous opponent at the US Open by dismantling Russian Mikhail Youzhny 6-2, 6-1.

Agencies via Xinhua

(China Daily 08/16/2003 page7)


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