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 vs Manchester United player ratings: Match-winner Eden Hazard leads the way, but Radamel Falcao endures game to forget
Chelsea 1 Manchester United 0: Eight things we learnt as Blues step closer to the Premier League title
Louis van Gaal gives increasingly intense interview as irritation with BBC grows following Manchester United defeat to Chelsea
Chelsea transfer news: Jose Mourinho plays down news signings Nathan and Yoshinori Muto but talks up Ruben Loftus-Cheek
Arsenal transfer news: Mikel Arteta needs 'five minutes' to sign new contract and remain with the Gunners
- 2 Rarest Beanie Baby of them all could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
- 3 Driving while dehydrated can be just as dangerous as drink driving, study suggests
- 5 Farmer told to tear down mock-Tudor castle after hiding construction behind hay bales
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate