Henin faces first big test as she confronts old rival Sharapova
Saturday 29 May 2010
Justine Henin has won her last 23 matches and her last 39 sets here at the French Open but today the 27-year-old Belgian faces the first major test of her ambition to reclaim the title she last won three years ago.
The four-times champion, who completed a 6-3, 6-3 victory yesterday over the Czech Republic's Klara Zakopalova, now takes on Maria Sharapova, who beat Kirsten Flipkens by the same score.
The two former world No 1s are both trying to recapture old glories. Henin came out of a 20-month retirement in January, while Sharapova has spent much of the last two years recovering from injury. The 23-year-old Russian did not play for seven months following shoulder surgery and an elbow problem recently kept her out for almost two months.
Although the French is the only Grand Slam title to have eluded her, Sharapova won a clay-court tournament in Strasbourg last week and has a decent record here. In her last six visits she has never failed to reach the fourth round and three years ago she made the semi-finals.
Henin has won six of their nine meetings, including a quarter-final here in 2005, but Sharapova won their last two Grand Slam matches, in New York in 2006 and in Melbourne in 2008.
"I expect a big fight, as we've always had in the past,'' Henin said. "I'll have to raise my level and keep my intensity, concentration and motivation really high.''
Svetlana Kuznetsova, the 2009 champion, was beaten in three sets by Maria Kirilenko, while the Williams sisters both progressed with the minimum of fuss, Serena beating Julia Goerges 6-1, 6-1 and Venus beating Dominika Cibulkova 6-3, 6-4.
Chelsea players allowed 20 minutes to celebrate, says Jose Mourinho after Capital One Cup victory
Liverpool vs Manchester City match report: Stunners from Philippe Coutinho and Jordan Henderson sink Manuel Pellegrini's side
Arsenal 2 Everton 0 player ratings: Who scored highest at the Emirates?
Ireland 19 England 9 player ratings: Jonathan Sexton? Devin Toner? Alex Goode? Who was the star man in Dublin?
Chelsea vs Tottenham - Capital One Cup final match report: Captain John Terry inspires Blues triumph at Wembley Stadium
- 1 Raif Badawi, the Saudi Arabian blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes, may now face death penalty
- 2 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
- 3 Dakota Johnson's 'It's only Isis' Saturday Night Live sketch sparks controversy
- 4 Robert Mugabe eats a zoo for 'obscene' 91st birthday party
- 5 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Russia's roadmap for annexing eastern Ukraine 'leaked from Vladimir Putin's office'
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how Corporation is funded