Hingis, Kuznetsova lose in third-round matches
WIMBLEDON, England -- Former champion Martina Hingis' comeback at Wimbledon ended in a third-round loss Friday.
Hingis, the 1997 winner who is in the midst of a comeback after three years off the tour, squandered a 3-0 lead in the third set and fell 7-5, 3-6, 6-4 to Japan's Ai Sugiyama.
Women's No. 5 Svetlana Kuznetsova, a former U.S. Open champion and finalist at the French Open three weeks ago, was ousted 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 by Li Na, who became the first Chinese woman to reach the fourth round at Wimbledon.
The 12th-seeded Hingis was one of only three women's champions in the draw, along with three-time winner Venus Williams and 2004 champ Maria Sharapova. She has made a strong return since her long layoff due to foot and ankle injuries.
But Hingis couldn't put away the 18th-seeded Sugiyama, who had lost six of her previous seven matches to the Swiss player.
Sugiyama, who turns 31 next week and is playing her 14th Wimbledon, converted all five break points she earned on Hingis' serve, including three in the final set.
"She played a great match," Hingis said. "She's harder to play on this surface than on any other. She's very fast. She's a tough cookie. She's a strong survivor."
At 3-0 in the third, Hingis lost four straight games to let Sugiyama take control. In the seventh game, Hingis slipped twice on the baseline, losing both points. She made three unforced errors in the last game, hitting a crosscourt backhand wide on match point.
Kuznetsova reached the Wimbledon quarterfinals in 2003 and 2005. She lost to Justine Henin-Hardenne in straight sets in the French Open final on June 10.
Li is only the second Chinese player to get this far at any Grand Slam; Zheng Jie made it to the fourth round of the 2004 French Open.
Second-seeded Kim Clijsters ended Zheng's run Friday, winning 6-3, 6-2 in the third round. Another Chinese player, Peng Shuai, faces Flavia Pennetta of Italy on Saturday.
Henin-Hardenne became the first player to reach the fourth round with another routine win in straight sets. The third-seeded Belgian beat 34th-ranked Anna Chakvetadze of Russia, 6-2, 6-3 in 65 minutes.
Henin-Hardenne, the Wimbledon runner-up in 2001, won the French Open last month for her fifth major title. By winning Wimbledon, she would complete a career collection of all four Grand Slam titles.
Friday's match was briefly interrupted at 5-2 in the first set hen a ball girl fainted as the temperature reached 82 degrees. She received treatment on the side of the court.
Poland's 17-year-old Agnieszka Radwanska beat qualifier Tamarine Tanasugarn, 6-3, 6-2, to become the fifth wild card to reach the fourth round here, and the first since Sharapova in 2003. Radwanska, who won the girls' singles title at Wimbledon last year, is ranked No. 217.
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press
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