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Kuznetsova ousts Henin

MELBOURNE, Australia – Justine Henin’s run at the Australian Open finished in the third round today when she lost 6-4, 7-6 (8) to Svetlana Kuznetsova, just a year after reaching the final in her comeback to Grand Slam tennis.

It was Henin’s first loss in a major to Kuznetsova, the former French and U.S. Open champion, and her worst run at a Grand Slam event since Wimbledon in 2005.

Henin was only weeks into a comeback from a career break when she lost the final last year to Serena Williams, the third time in four appearances that she’d reached the championship match at Melbourne. Her comeback season was derailed when she injured her right elbow at Wimbledon and didn’t play again in 2010.

“There are some days that are harder than others for a lot of reasons, physical, mental, your adversary also, sometimes a style of game that is harder to manage, the pressure,” Henin said. “But obviously I wanted to play, I wanted to win. I wanted to go as far as possible.”

Kuznetsova will meet French Open champion Francesca Schiavone in the fourth round.

Caroline Wozniacki, playing her first major with the No. 1-ranking, advanced in routine fashion. Also advancing were No. 8 Victoria Azarenka and No. 9 Li Na, a semifinalist last year.

Defending champion Roger Federer beat Xavier Malisse 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 to earn his 57th career win at the Australian Open, surpassing Stefan Edberg’s Open Era record.

“It’s very nice, but he still stays my idol,” said Federer, a 16-time Grand Slam winner. He will next play Tommy Robredo, who beat Ukraine’s Sergiy Stakhovsky 5-7, 6-2, 6-4, 6-2.

No. 3 Novak Djokovic’s third-round match lasted only one set – the 2008 champion was leading 6-2 when his Davis Cup-winning teammate Viktor Troicki retired with a stomach muscle strain.

Djokovic will play No. 14 Nicolas Almagro, who beat No. 17 Ivan Ljubicic 6-4, 7-6 (8), 6-3.

Andy Roddick was having trouble countering Robin Haase in the first set before his powerful serve kicked in. He finished with 32 aces in a 2-6, 7-6 (2), 6-2, 6-2 win. No. 6 Tomas Berdych beat Richard Gasquet 6-2, 7-6 (3), 6-2.