Henin-Hardenne clinches Sydney title

13th January 2006, Comments 0 comments

13 January 2006, BRUSSELS — Justine Henin-Hardenne came back from a set and 4-1 down to win the Sydney International final 4-6, 7-5, 7-5 over Italy's Francesca Schiavone Friday. It augers well for her, as two years ago she won this tournament and went on to take the Australian Open.

13 January 2006

BRUSSELS — Justine Henin-Hardenne came back from a set and 4-1 down to win the Sydney International final 4-6, 7-5, 7-5 over Italy's Francesca Schiavone Friday. It augers well for her, as two years ago she won this tournament and went on to take the Australian Open.

Henin-Hardenne served poorly throughout, double-faulting to open the sixth game of the opening set after struggling to hold serve in the fourth. She fell behind 0-40, then double-faulted again to hand Schiavone a 4-2 lead.

But the former world number one drew on all her big-match experience to fight back on both occasions, raising her game as the errors started to creep into Schiavone's game.

With Schiavone 4-1 up in the second set, the Belgian broke back, then pulled to 4-3 when she broke an erratically-serving Schiavone in the seventh. Henin-Hardenne broke serve again for a 6-5 lead and evened the match at one set each on her third set point with a forehand winner.

At 5-5 in the final set, Henin-Hardenne broke Schiavone's service and was serving for the match at 6-5 when rain forced a 30-minute suspension with the Belgian up 15-0. Henin-Hardenne returned to clinch the three-hour match on her second championship point. It was Schiavone's WTA final defeat in as many attempts.

"For sure, I was in a bad position and I couldn't find a solution...but I just tried to stay focused on every point," Henin-Hardenne said afterwards. "I felt that she was nervous to win, she was a little bit scared to win this match. At that point I was very calm because I knew I just had to play each point and stay focused."

[Copyright Expatica News 2006]

Subject: Belgian news

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