And then there were two: Thirteen Russian women entered the Australian Open, including four ranked in the top six. After losses Monday by Anastasia Myskina and Elena Dementieva, that total is down to two.
Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova plays U.S. Open champ Svetlana Kuznetsova in the quarterfinals, meaning one Russian will be in the semifinals.
"Maybe it wasn't Russia's day," said the third-seeded Myskina, upset by Nathalie Dechy of France 6-4, 6-2.
Dementieva, who lost to Myskina in the French Open final and Kuznetsova in the U.S. Open final, was a set and 4-0 up in her fourth-round match against Patty Schnyder of Switzerland before losing 6-7 (6), 7-6 (4) 6-2.
"What can I say? Such bad luck today. I was 4-love, 30-love, but I didn't take my chances," the sixth-seeded Dementieva said.
Pushing it to the limit: Finally, after nine tries, Lleyton Hewitt is an Australian Open quarterfinalist.
Shaking off a hip strain, the third-seeded Hewitt rallied for a 7-5, 3-6, 1-6, 7-6 (3), 6-2 win over Rafael Nadal, moving him past the fourth round of his country's major tournament for the first time.
Hewitt's had far more success at other Grand Slam tournaments, winning the U.S. Open in 2001 and Wimbledon in 2002, and reaching the quarterfinals twice at the French Open on clay, his least favorite surface.
Since making his debut in the Australian Open as a 16-year-old in 1998, Hewitt has lost in the first round three times, in the second and third rounds once each, and in the fourth round three times. Last year, Roger Federer beat him in the round of 16.
Hewitt next faces David Nalbandian in a rematch of the 2002 Wimbledon final. Hewitt is trying to become the first Australian man to win the Open since Mark Edmondson in 1976.
Hewitt injured his hip in Sydney last week, and has been receiving daily treatment.
"It's maintainable," Hewitt said. "There's been some times the last couple of matches it's been pretty sore, and I've just had to put up with it. Even if my leg would have fell off, I would have kept playing."
Cash out while ahead: Andy Roddick, James Blake and Mardy Fish have spent some time at a local casino during the Australian Open.
"James was (up), but him and Mardy didn't do so well the other night," Roddick said Monday about the trio's trip to the blackjack tables. "But that's not saying a whole lot because I'm not up a whole lot, just enough to keep me playing. I've been trying to donate money to the casino, but it hasn't worked yet."
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