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Clijsters takes Hewitt loss in stride

Melbourne: Kim Clijsters tried to put boyfriend Lleyton Hewitt’s defeat to Morocco’s Younus El Aynaoui in the fourth round in perspective after she herself made it to the quarter finals.

After winning over South Africa’s Amanda Coetzer, Clijsters said she had tried not to watch Hewitt’s match on television — preferring to tune in to the Oprah Winfrey Show in her hotel instead.

The 19-year-old also said it was easy putting Hewitt’s defeat into perspective following bush fires which raged in Australia at the weekend, leaving four people dead and more than 400 homes destroyed.

“It’s never nice,” Clijsters said when asked about Hewitt’s exit. “But there’s a lot worse things in life than losing a tennis match. “If you look at all the bushfires here in Australia, I think a tennis match is nothing compared with that and all the other things that are happening in the world,” added Clijsters, who had not spoken to Hewitt about the loss.

Aces for charity

A Moroccan charity is cheering every ace the country’s sporting hero Younes El Aynaoui thunders down. El Aynaoui was the toast of the Australian Open on Monday after his upset of world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt in the fourth round.

In the course of demolishing Australia’s big hope to end a 27-year home title drought, 31-year-old El Aynaoui served up 33 aces, which converts into $3,300 for a charity, run by the country’s King Mohammed VI.

El Aynaoui sported a badge on his shirt that he said recognised the king’s charity. “This,” he said pointing to the badge, “is a charity thing that the king does in Morocco. I give 100 dollars for every ace I make in a match.”

Myskina credits beau

A change of coach — and a change of boyfriend — has left Anastasia Myskina celebrating the best Grand Slam performance of her career.

The 21-year-old Russian fought from a set down to reach the last eight of the Australian Open here on Monday with a deserving 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 victory over 10th seed Chanda Rubin of the United States.

It is the first time eight-seeded Myskina has ever reached the quarter finals of a Grand Slam — and the right-hander from Moscow is in no doubt about what, and who, is responsible.

But with new boyfriend Jens Gerlach doubling as her coach, Myskina surged up the rankings in 2002 to finish the year ranked just outside the top 10 at 12.

New-look Meghann

Meghann Shaughnessy is into her first Grand Slam quarter final, where she will come up against world No. 1 Serena Williams. For Shaughnessy, the up side is she gets to test her new fitness against the best in the business.

The 23-year-old American said she’s been working for two years with a fitness trainer in her home state of Arizona. “He has entirely changed my body,” Shaughnessy said after beating Russia’s Elena Bovina 5-7, 6-2, 6-4.

“I’ve put on 20 pounds, lost body fat, gained explosiveness, power ... Its been incredible,” she added.

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