If Justine Henin had any doubts about how successful her comeback might be they were surely dispelled by her 7-5, 7-6 victory over Elena Dementieva at the Australian Open here. Henin, playing her second tournament after an 18-month break from the game, beat the world No 5 in a second-round encounter of the highest quality.
Although Henin reached the final of the Brisbane International against Kim Clijsters a fortnight ago, her failure there to take two match points was in her mind again as she was broken when serving for the match at both 5-4 and 6-5.
"I got the opportunity to finish the match and couldn't because my nerves weren't probably solid enough," Henin said. "I really thought in the tie-break I wouldn't be strong enough. When I got the opportunities, and the way I finished, on serve and volley, was the best I could dream of."
Henin, who now meets another Russian in Alisa Kleybanova, was suffering from cramp at the end of a match full of powerful hitting and wonderful rallies.
Marin Cilic, the world No 14, completed a marathon 6-7, 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 6-4 victory over Bernard Tomic. Earlier in the day Juan Martin del Potro, the No 4 seed, took more than four and a quarter hours to beat James Blake 6-4, 6-7, 5-7, 6-3, 10-8.
Rafael Nadal and Andy Roddick progressed with straight-sets victories over Lukas Lacko and Thomaz Bellucci respectively.