When Martina Hingis began her comeback in January she had every reason to be satisfied with reaching the last eight of her first Grand Slam tournament for three years. Today's quarter-finals of the French Open will give the former world No 1 the chance to measure her subsequent progress as she faces Kim Clijsters, who beat her in three sets at the same stage in Melbourne.
"I've made a lot of improvements since Australia," Hingis said yesterday after completing a 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 fourth-round victory over Shahar Peer. Hingis was on court for the fourth day in a row yesterday - her match was halted at one set-all late on Sunday night - but believes she can cope with the physical demands.
"What gave me the biggest confidence was winning in Rome, where I played six matches in seven days," she said. "I really don't care any more if I have to play every day." It was a patchy performance against Peer, whose booming forehands regularly had the Swiss in trouble. Hingis wobbled towards the end when she was broken at 5-2 before three successive missed backhands in the final game signalled the end of the Peer show.
* Justine Henin-Hardenne will make her debut at Eastbourne in the Hastings Direct Championships later this month. With Amélie Mauresmo, Kim Clijsters and Nadia Petrova also competing, the tournament will feature four of the world's top five women. The fifth, Maria Sharapova, yesterday confirmed that she will compete in the DFS Classic at Edgbaston next week.
French Open Women's quarter-final line-up: N Vaidisova (Cz Rep) v V Williams (US); D Safina (Rus) v S Kuznetsova (Rus); J Henin-Hardenne (Bel) v A-L Grönefeld (Ger); M Hingis (Swi) v K Clijsters (Bel).