Henin feels emotion of comeback win
Tuesday 25 May 2010
An emotional Justine Henin today described her French Open comeback as "a beautiful moment" after coming through a tricky first-round match against Tsvetana Pironkova.
Playing at Roland Garros for the first time since completing a hat-trick of singles title wins in 2007, the four-time champion showed only glimpses of her scintillating best on Philippe Chatrier Court and struggled on serve throughout.
But she did enough to seal a 6-4 6-3 victory in one hour 29 minutes and set up a second-round meeting with Klara Zakopalova.
Former world number one Henin, who decided to end her 16-month retirement in September last year, was technically on a 21-match winning streak at Roland Garros, having not lost there since 2004.
The Belgian 22nd seed had also won her last 35 sets in the tournament, a statistic she had more than a little difficulty extending to 37 today.
"I did not have the opportunity to practise on centre court before this morning, so I came in at 9.45am," said the 27-year-old.
"Even if I know this court - I've experienced beautiful things here - but I walked on this court and it was unknown to me.
"Then, when I started playing, many things came back to my memory, and I had this beautiful feeling of happiness, of being here again.
"I thought I would never experience that again in my life.
"That's probably the tennis court on which I had the most beautiful emotions in my life, so it has a special place in my heart, and that will never change. That's why it was emotional today."
Henin's morning start meant the early stages of her match were witnessed by a handful of spectators.
"People came little by little," she said.
"And, at the end of the match, I really enjoyed the standing ovation from the crowd.
"It was extraordinary. It was a beautiful moment for me."
There was also plenty of emotion on Suzanne Lenglen Court, which witnessed undoubtedly the biggest upset of the tournament so far.
Dinara Safina, runner-up for the last two years and the former world number one, fell apart against 39-year-old Kimiko Date-Krumm to lose 3-6 6-4 7-5 in an extraordinary two hour 34 minute saga.
Multiple grand slam semi-finalist Date-Krumm, who had been retired for 12 years before returning to the circuit two years ago, burst into tears after recording what was her first win in a major for 14 years.
The Japanese veteran's success was all the more remarkable as she was struggling with a calf injury throughout.
Safina was the only seed toppled by mid-afternoon in the women's draw.
Among those safely though were Shahar Peer (18), who beat Nuria Llagostera Vives 6-1 6-4, Vera Zvonareva (21), who saw off Alberta Brianti 6-3 6-1, Daniela Hantuchova (23) who crushed Tamarine Tanasugarn 6-1 6-1, and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (29), who cruised past Alize Cornet 6-4 6-2.
Royal Rumble 2015: Roman Reigns triumphs after The Rock returns to set-up Wrestlemania showdown with Brock Lesnar
What time is the 2015 WWE Royal Rumble on? TV details and full card
Brighton 2 Arsenal 3 player ratings: Did Tomas Rosicky's performance and goal make him man of the match at Amex Stadium?
Liverpool transfer news and rumours: Glen Johnson to stay; Fabian Delph move goes up in flames; Marc-Andre Ter Stegen for loan deal
Brighton vs Arsenal match report: Tomas Rosicky inspirational as Gunners avoid scare
- 1 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 5 This crazy skiing video will leave you feeling queasy
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
George Galloway condemns 'racist, Islamophobic, hypocritical rag' Charlie Hebdo at freedom of speech rally
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party