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Hingis and Ljubicic through to quarters

Written by: Staff
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PARIS, June 5 (Reuters) Martina Hingis ground her way through to a French Open quarter-final against Kim Clijsters today when she won a three-set tussle with stubborn Israeli opponent Shahar Peer.

Croatian men's fourth seed Ivan Ljubicic marched into the last eight for the first time at the claycourt grand slam where he will face unseeded Frenchman Julien Benneteau.

In the day's most anticipated match men's defending champion Rafael Nadal faced Australian former world number one Lleyton Hewitt in the men's fourth round.

Hingis beat Peer 6-3 2-6 6-3 with the match having been halted at one-set all yesterday due to poor light.

The Swiss, back at Roland Garros after a three-year break from the game, dropped her first set of the tournament and was never comfortable against Peer who was aiming to become the first Israeli woman to reach a grand slam quarter-final.

''I think now I can kind of survive a lot of things,'' said 25-year-old Hingis. ''It doesn't matter what's coming up next. I just have to play my tennis and prepare the best possible.'' Ljubicic equalled his best grand slam showing when he saw off Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo of Spain 6-3 3-6 6-3 6-2.

CROATIAN DOUBLE The fourth seed, who also made the Australian Open quarter-finals in January, had too much big-match experience for the Spaniard on Court Suzanne Lenglen.

Ramirez Hidalgo, 28, had never won a grand slam match before the tournament and although he took the second set, Ljubicic quickly re-asserted his authority with his heavy serve and clubbed forehand.

His win means Croatia have two players in the last eight for the first time at Roland Garros after Mario Ancic also won his fourth round match to set up a quarter-final with world number one Roger Federer.

Benneteau is also enjoying his best run at a grand slam and he went through after Spain's Alberto Martin withdrew with a back injury when the Frenchman was leading 5-1 in the opening set.

''I am very happy. Of course, I'm not happy with the way I won this match but I have to say I was also down physically,'' said Benneteau, who has been suffering from thigh pains.

''I'm lucky, no doubt about it.'' REUTERS AY PM2040

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