French Open champ Myskina tumbles

Updated: September 3, 2004, 12:45 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- French Open champion Anastasia Myskina fell to fellow Russian Anna Chakvetadze 7-6 (3), 6-3 at the U.S. Open on Thursday.

Also Thursday night, Venus Williams struggled against a qualifier who hadn't won a main-draw match until this week, but defeated Israeli Shikha Uberoi 7-5, 6-1 to join sister Serena, No. 20 Chanda Rubin and wild card Angela Haynes in the third round -- the first time four black women have reached that stage in the same year.

Earlier, Lindsay Davenport's summer of success stayed on course while Justine Henin-Hardenne's was nearly derailed.

The fifth-seeded Davenport defeated Arantxa Parra Santonja 6-4, 6-2 and advanced to the third round of the season's final Slam. Then, top-seeded Henin-Hardenne survived a scare and held off qualifier Tzipi Obziler 6-2, 5-7, 6-2.

The fourth-seeded Myskina had all sorts of trouble with her serve, managing just 47 percent for the match and just 23 percent in the second set. There were 37 unforced errors leading to an early exit for a player who came in with a chance to overtake Henin-Hardenne for No. 1 in the world.

"I didn't want to fight. I didn't want to run," Myskina said. "I didn't want to do anything."

She also didn't exactly want to hype her opponent as another rising Russian star, offering this assessment: "Let's say she's OK."

Davenport also had some difficult moments, but they were nothing compared to the struggle Henin-Hardenne endured.

Beset by an unusual rash of early unforced errors, Davenport was broken in the fourth game of the first set and it seemed to get her attention. She broke right back to keep the set on serve and then broke Parra Santonja in the ninth game. Serving for the set, Davenport won it at love, finishing with an ace.

After that, she took charge, seizing every opportunity, sweeping through the first five games of the second set. After 13 unforced errors in the first set, her game seemed to settle down.

But serving for the match, Davenport was broken again, plagued by double faults. It was a momentary interruption. The next time she served, she took care of business, again finishing with an ace.

Hampered by knee and foot injuries over the last few years, she's healthy now, playing confident, consistent tennis on her favorite surface.

"I knew who this player was," Davenport said. "She came out hitting the ball pretty hard., I was a little on my heels in the beginning., I felt it took me a while to get going., I have to do something to get off to a quicker start in the next match."

Santonja thought she had missed an opportunity.

"She was making more errors," she said. "Then, when it was 3-1, she began playing more solidly. When she broke me back, I lost a bit of confidence there. I had my chances there, but after the first set, I couldn't win the match.

"When you play with her, you don't have long points -- two shots, and it's over."

Henin-Hardenne struggled with a viral infection that limited her summer schedule. But the defending U.S. Open champion warmed up for this event by winning the gold medal at the Athens Olympics, a victory that included a stirring comeback from being down 1-5 in the third set of the semifinals against Myskina.

There were more dramatics against the 31-year-old Obziler, ranked No. 133 in the world and playing in her first Open.

Henin-Hardenne struggled with her serve, committing eight double faults and 47 unforced errors. She was broken seven times, once as she served for the match in the second set. She was shaky on some shots and sloppy on others and had an unexpected battle that stretched 2 hours, 14 minutes in the second round of the tournament.

"Every match is a test," Henin-Hardenne said. "At this level, you need to be at your top all the time.

"It wasn't my day today. I was out of my rhythm. She didn't give me a chance to get rhythm. Maybe I wasn't ready to play a lot of rallies."

Also, No. 19 Silvia Farina Elia defeated Katarina Srebotnik 6-2, 6-1

Maria Sharapova defeated Jelena Jankovic 6-0, 6-7 (5), 6-1; the Russian teen defeated Laura Granville 7-5 in the third set of her opening match. Jankovic faded after getting treated for a left hip strain. Williams looked to be in trouble in the early stages against Shikha Uberoi before winning 7-5, 6-1.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press