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Reunion of old rivals

Maria Sharapova has reached the French Open’s third round for the seventh consecutive year, setting up a showdown against four-time champion Justine Henin.

sports Updated: May 29, 2010 00:20 IST

Maria Sharapova has reached the French Open’s third round for the seventh consecutive year, setting up a showdown against four-time champion Justine Henin.

Seeking the only Grand Slam title she hasn’t won, the 12th-seeded Sharapova beat 71st-ranked Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium 6-3, 6-3 Friday in a match that was suspended because of darkness the night before.

Sharapova had five aces and one double-fault against Flipkens, who dropped to 0-14 against players ranked in the top 20. Now comes a tougher test for Sharapova: a match against Henin, who eliminated Klara Zakopalova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-3 to get to the third round.

Henin was upbeat about the clash and said she was looking forward to resuming hostilities with Maria Sharapova after both players came through their second-round ties to set up a mouth-watering French Open clash.

Henin is bidding for her fifth Roland Garros title, having returned to the sport at the beginning of this year after retiring in 2008.