MELBOURNE, Australia — Venus Williams was happy just to survive three rounds of the Australian Open. Martina Hingis was upset that she conceded a game.
The second-seeded Williams dropped the first set today before winning eight straight games for a 3-6, 6-0, 6-4 win over No. 32 Daniela Hantuchova.
"I wasn't really afraid," said Williams, who struggled with a knee injury in her second-round win over Kristina Brandi. "You always go into a match a little nervous after having a scare. But I found that I could do a lot more than I did the other day, so it was exciting."
Hingis, seeded third, had two set points at 5-0 in the first before Barbara Rittner held serve. Then Hingis won the next seven games to finish a 6-1, 6-0 victory in 46 minutes.
In the day's last match, Tim Henman overcame Greg Rusedski in an all-British clash and survived as the highest-ranked men's player.
The sixth-seeded Henman advanced to a fourth-round match against Sweden's Jonas Bjorkman on a 6-4, 6-3, 1-6, 6-3 win.
Already, 22 of the 32 seeded men have been ousted or injured. Rusedski, No. 12 Guillermo Canas, No. 21 Younes El Aynaoui bowed out today.
Williams is treating her injury with rest and ice. The two-time U.S. Open and Wimbledon champion said her slow start was a symptom of recurring tendinitis in her left knee.
Venus' sister, Serena Williams, withdrew before the tournament with an ankle injury. Lindsay Davenport, who finished 2001 at No. 1, isn't here because of a knee injury.
Williams, who lost in the Australian semifinals last year to Hingis, remained on course for a quarterfinal showdown with No. 8 Monica Seles, a four-time Australian Open champ.
Seles also overcame a slow start against Francesca Schiavone to win 6-4, 6-4 on center court.
In other women's matches, Adriana Serra Zanetti beat 11th-seeded Silvia Farina Elia 6-2, 4-6, 6-4; 13th-seeded Magdalena Maleeva beat No. 18 Lisa Raymond 7-5, 6-1; Martina Sucha defeated Asa Svensson 6-0, 6-4; and No. 15 Amanda Coetzer beat No. 17 Barbara Schett 6-3, 6-3.
On the men's side, wild card Taylor Dent used his powerful first serve to full effect in the first set but was worn down by a relentless Adrian Voinea.
The Romanian overcame Dent and a hostile crowd for a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 win.