Toronto, Canada – SYDNEY (Reuters) - Belgium's Justine Henin continued her successful return to professional tennis with a 6-4 6-3 win over Kazakhstan's Sesil Karatantcheva at the Brisbane International on Wednesday.
The former world number one, playing her first official tournament in 20 months, cruised to victory in 77 minutes to advance to the quarter-finals against Hungary's Melinda Czink.
Top seed Andy Roddick also maintained his steady buildup to this month's Australian Open with a workmanlike 7-6 6-3 second round win over big-serving Australian Carsten Ball in the men's draw.
Last year's Wimbledon finalist, resuming after a knee injury cut short his 2009 season, saved a set point before winning the opener in a tiebreak then snatched the second with a single break of serve.
Roddick's fellow American James Blake saved three match points and recovered from a service break down in the deciding third set to defeat Frenchman Marc Gicquel 6-3 3-6 7-6 in a much tighter match on the Pat Rafter center court.
"I was not going to let him beat me. You play your best when you have that clear mindset," said Blake, who also won his first round match in three sets.
"I would prefer to win in two and two but it is good to get some tough match-ups in the lead-up to a Grand Slam."
In the women's event, Slovakia's Daniela Hantuchova brushed aside the challenge of Hungary's Agnes Szavay 6-3 6-1 while Czech Lucie Safarova disposed of Canada's Aleksandra Wozniak 6-3 6-1 to join top seed Kim Clijsters in the last eight.
Clijsters, who won last year's U.S. Open after making a comeback of her own, cannot meet Henin until the final.
The tournament, in only its second year, is one of the major lead-up events to the Australian Open in Melbourne from January 18-31.
(Reporting by Julian Linden; Editing by John O'Brien)