Henin fights back to oust Sharapova as Venus crashes out

Justine Henin last night admitted Maria Sharapova gave her no choice but to go for broke after fighting back to beat her old rival and reach the French Open fourth round.

Henin recovered from the loss of her first set at Roland Garros for five years to extend her winning run there to 24 matches courtesy of a 6-2 3-6 6-3 victory.

Four-time champion Henin looked in real danger of her first defeat in the tournament since 2004 when 12th seed Sharapova had three points for a double-break in the deciding set after the contest resumed yesterday afternoon at one set all.

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But the Belgian 22nd seed hit back to win five of the next six games and survive an enthralling two-hour, seven-minute encounter spread over two days on Philippe Chatrier Court.

The 27-year-old revealed afterwards she decided to go on the attack at 2-0, 0-40 down in the third set, having made numerous charges to the net at that time.

She said: "I had no choice. Sometimes when you're 0-0, you know you control a little bit.

"But when you're under pressure a little bit, you don't have any other choice."

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Henin will now play seventh seed Samantha Stosur in round four today.

An inspired Nadia Petrova claimed the biggest scalp of this year's tournament after beating Venus Williams for the first time in her career.

Petrova had lost all four of her previous meetings with the world No 2 but showed tremendous skill and resolve to seal a 6-4 6-3 fourth-round victory on Philippe Chatrier Court.

A frustrated Williams said: "I feel like I had a day where I wanted to hit the ball crosscourt and it went down the line.

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"Sometimes, when it gets too cold, it's hard to feel the racquet."

Petrova, who struck an impressive 28 winners and saved six break points, will now play fellow Russian Elena Dementieva for a place in what would be her third Roland Garros semi-final.

Fifth seed Dementieva swept aside the only remaining qualifier left in the draw, Chanelle Scheepers, 6-1 6-3, while third seed Caroline Wozniacki survived a fightback from Flavia Pennetta (14) to win 7-6 (7/5) 6-7 (4/7) 6-2 on Suzanne Lenglen Court.

The last eight sees the Dane play Francesca Schiavone (17), who beat Svetlana Kuznetsova's conqueror, Maria Kirilenko (30), 6-4 6-4.

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