French Open: Henin-Hardenne dismisses Testud

24th May 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, May 24 (AFP) - Defending champion and top seed Justine Henin-Hardenne began the defence of her French Open title with a 6-4, 6-4 win over France's Sandrine Testud here on Monday.

PARIS, May 24 (AFP) - Defending champion and top seed Justine Henin-Hardenne began the defence of her French Open title with a 6-4, 6-4 win over France's Sandrine Testud here on Monday.

The 21-year-old Belgian, out of action for six weeks because of a virus, shrugged off the loss of her first service game to secure victory after 87 minutes to set up a second round clash against Tathiana Garbin of Italy.

Henin-Hardenne, who also holds the US Open and Australian Open titles, could even afford to drop serve when she served for the match in the ninth game of the second set before ensuring victory in the next game against an opponent who only returned to the tour earlier this year after giving birth to a daughter.

"The only thing I wanted to do today was win," said Henin-Hardenne whose only other clay court event this year was at Amelia Island in the United States where she made the semi-finals.

"It was difficult to play Sandrine in Paris as she had nothing to lose. But this was the kind of match I needed."

The 1998 men's champion Carlos Moya of Spain, seeded five, defeated John van Lottum of the Netherlands 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 while Thai 13th seed Paradorn Srichaphan saw off Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 to reach the second round.

Moya now faces either fellow Spaniard Fernando Vicente or French qualifier Marc Gicquel while Paradorn, who has never got beyond the third round here, takes on veteran Spaniard Alex Corretja, twice a runner-up here, or America's Jan-Michael Gambill.

Also progressing to the next round in the women's draw was Russian 18th seed Maria Sharapova who defeated Austria's Barbara Schwartz 6-3, 6-0.

She nows faces either Henrita Nagyova of Slovakia or Rita Grande of Italy in the next round.

"That was not the toughest match I have ever played," said 17-year-old Sharapova who lost on her debut here last year in the first round.

"I am not a great fan of clay but I am learning. Playing on the slow surface can develop my game."

Russian eighth seed Nadia Petrova, a semi-finalist in 2003, defeated Catalina Castano of Colombia 6-2, 6-3 while Argentinian 14th seed Paolo Suarez eased past Milagros Sequera of Venezuela 6-3, 6-4.


© AFP

Subject: French news

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