Stuttgart:Former world number one Justine Henin had a tough workout as she battled past Germany's Julia Goerges to book her place in the second round of Stuttgart's WTA tournament on Wednesday.
The 27-year-old Belgian, wearing a splint to protect the broken finger she suffered in training last week, needed 53 minutes for the first set after Goerges forced a tie-breaker.
The four-times Roland Garros winner then held her nerve to take the set despite a furious protest from her German opponent over a line-call which left her remonstrating with the umpire long after the point was awarded against her.
Henin then only needed exactly 30 minutes to take the second set for a 7-6 (7/3), 6-1 victory.
"She was in a position to win the set, I just tried to keep focused," said a relieved Henin who won this tournament in 2007.
"I was tired in the first set, but I finally managed to relax and felt better on court.
"She was on fire in the first set and was being really aggressive.
"The court slides a lot, so when your opponent is being aggressive it is not that easy on defence to come back and win the point.
"I was much happier in the second set, I was much more aggressive.
"I was expecting a tough first set, as she had nothing to lose and went for everything."
The right-hander broke the little finger on her left hand last week while preparing for Belgium's Fed Cup win over Estonia and expects to wear a splint on the injury until next month's French Open.
"I had to change my splint before the match, but it has been a week since the injury, it is getting better even if the finger is still pretty blue," she said.
In the second round Henin, playing on a wildcard entry, will face compatriot Yanina Wickmayer, who saw off Francesca Schiavone of Italy 6-3, 6-3.
"We were together a few days ago for the Fed Cup match and I am looking forward to playing her very much," said Henin, having ended her 18-month hiatus from tennis in January.
Defending champion Svetlana Kuznetsova became the day's biggest casualty when the number three seed was beaten 6-3, 7-5 by China's Na Li in just 83 minutes in a second-round game late in the evening.
Li will play either Samantha Stosur, who beat France's Marion Bartoli in her first round game, or Romania's Alexandra Dulgheru in Friday's quarter-finals.
Earlier, fourth-seed Jelena Jankovic needed just over an hour to breeze into the second-round with a straight sets win over Gisela Dulko.
Jankovic is on course to meet last year's beaten finalist Dinara Safina in the quarter-finals, but first faces Bulgarian qualifier Tsvetana Pironkova in Thursday's second round.
Jankovic blasted two aces and took the first set after just 32 minutes against the Argentinian before slowing briefly in the second, but was in firm control for a 6-2, 6-2, win in 75 minutes.
"It went well for the first match, they are always tough - she is a hard opponent to play, especially on clay," said Jankovic.
"The first set went well, I started losing my concentration a bit in the second, but overall it was a good match for me in the first round."
Fifth-seed Agnieszka Radwanska made a second-round exit when she was beaten 6-3, 6-7 (4/7), 6-2 by Israel's Shahar Peer who will now face either Safina or Hungary's Agnes Szavay.