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Hingis sets up Mauresmo German Open clash

Written by: Staff

BERLIN, May 11 (Reuters) Former world number one Martina Hingis eased past fifth seed Elena Dementieva 6-3 6-2 at the German Open today to set up an eagerly anticipated quarter-final clash with top seed Amelie Mauresmo.

Unseeded Hingis, champion on the clay here in 1999, had a surprisingly easy time against the Russian on another day of brilliant sunshine and near-perfect conditions at the Steffi Graf stadium.

World number eight Dementieva had won the pair's last three matches in straight sets but only one of those was since January when the 25-year-old Hingis made her return from a three-year break.

''I would say this is one of the best matches I've played since I came back. Beating Dementieva gives me confidence that I can survive against players like her,'' Hingis said.

''I tried to make her run around so she couldn't get into a rhythm and simply tried to put the ball into the corners. She's a very strong runner and can shoot you down if you give her the chance.'' Dementieva, one of six Russians in the last 16 here, had a great chance to get back into the match with Hingis on 0-40 in the fourth game of the second set. But the Swiss held her nerve, and her serve, for 3-1.

VERY INTENSE ''I needed a great deal of self-confidence out there today. Even though the score was 6-3 6-2 it was very intense and very high quality,'' Hingis said.

In the quarters Hingis will face world number one Mauresmo. The powerful Frenchwoman took some time to hit her stride against Russian teenager Anna Chakvetadze, losing her service in the first game of the match, but eventually won 6-4 6-2.

Mauresmo, twice a winner in Berlin, beat Hingis 6-2 6-2 in the semi-finals in Doha in March, their only meeting since the Swiss player's return, although Hingis has a 7-5 winning record.

''It's just really nice to be able to play Amelie again,'' Hingis said. ''I've nothing to lose and I'm going into it with positive thoughts.'' Mauresmo looked far from her imperious best on Thursday, making a string of unforced errors and suffering three breaks of serve at the hands of the talented but erratic Muscovite.

French Open champion and number three seed Justine Henin-Hardenne of Belgium also progressed, thrashing Russian Maria Kirilenko 6-1 6-0 in under an hour as she goes for a fourth Berlin title.

Moscow-born number two seed Nadia Petrova survived a stern test from unseeded Chinese Zheng Jie, eventually coming through 7-6 4-6 6-4.

Petrova, the world number four, will play compatriot Dinara Safina for a place in the semi-finals. Safina beat Slovakia's Daniela Hantuchova earlier today.

Reuters PDS DB2359

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