Henin-Hardenne wins J&S Cup

Justine Henin-Hardenne's return to top form continued in Warsaw, Poland.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:51 IST
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Warsaw:Justine Henin-Hardenne's return to top form continued in Warsaw, Poland on Sunday, as she beat Svetlana Kuznetsova in three sets to claim the J&S Cup. The unseeded Belgian fought back from a set down to win a marathon match 3-6, 6-2, 7-5. Second-seeded Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova went into the J&S Cup final full of confidence, after ending Kim Clijsters 17-match winning streak in the semi-finals. The Russian looked on track to end another Belgian's winning run, as she broke Justine Henin-Hardenne's serve at will in the opening set. The second seed was able to keep the ball away from Henin-Hardenne's dangerous backhand as she went on to seal the first set 6-3. But things began to go wrong for Kuznetsova soon after, as she need treatment for a leg injury, and came out in the second set with bandages on her left leg. Henin-Hardenne seized the initiative as she raced through the second set 6-2 to level the match. In the third set Kuznetsova came out firing, and a series of precise groundstrokes helped her jump into a 3-1 lead in the decider. But the Belgian was determined to clinch victory on her first trip to Warsaw and she stepped up her game to a new level, producing some stunning forehands along the way. She broke back to level the set at 4-4 after a rare exchange at the net between the pair. Kuznetsova then saved one match point when serving at 4-5, but in her next service game, she couldn't cope with the power of the Belgian's backhand, and Henin-Hardenne sealed the deciding set 7-5. After going without a tournament win since the Athens Olympics last August, Henin-Hardenne has now won back-to-back crowns, following victory in Charleston two weeks ago, and the 2003 French Open champion will start as one of the favourites at Roland Garros later this month. (AP)

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