Safina ousts Henin from German Open

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> World number one Justine Henin made third-round exit from the German Open on Thursday at the hands of Russian Dinara Safina.

Updated: May 16, 2008 16:35 IST
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World number one Justine Henin admitted she was bitterly disappointed at her shock third-round exit from the German Open on Thursday at the hands of Russian Dinara Safina.

Third seeded Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova also crashed out after her third round defeat to Alona Bondarenko, but the shock of the day saw Henin fall 5-7, 6-3, 6-1 - a second defeat in her last three games.

Safina will now play Serena Williams in the quarter-finals after the former world number one beat Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska 6-3, 6-1 in the third round to claim her 17th straight win.

Against Henin, Safina had five match points in the third set at the end of the two hours 34 minute marathon and broke Henin eight times in total as the Belgian's poor run continues this season.

"It was pretty difficult out there and very frustrating, I am very disappointed," said Henin.

"I struggled during the whole match, I didn't have the intensity, she just played better then me."

Having won the last three French Open tournaments, this was not the ending Henin wanted in Berlin and she has just next week's WTA event in Rome to prepare before Roland Garros begins in Paris on May 26.

"This week was important, not only in terms of the French Open, but also in terms of getting some confidence back," said Henin, the top seed in Berlin.

"I will take a few days off, focus on Rome and we will see what happens now in the next few weeks."

There is no doubt the world's highest ranked player is having a tough time.

Having been hammered 6-2, 6-0 by Serena Williams in Miami early last month, Henin, who enjoyed a straight sets win here in the second round over Yung-Jan Chan on Tuesday, was never allowed to relax by Safina, ranked 17th in the world.

Henin, 25, had to fight back from 4-2 down to win the first set 7-5, but the Belgian was unable to recover from again being 4-2 down in the next and lost the second set 6-3.

Having been beaten in all of her five previous matches against Henin, Safina raced into a 5-0 lead in the final set, but wasted three match points before finally taking the third 6-1.

"It's the biggest win of my career so far, after losing all of my five games to her it was a long time coming," said Safina.

Earlier in the day, last year's finalist Kuznetsova was humbled 1-6, 6-2, 6-2 by 15th seed Bondarenko.

There were no such problems for seventh seeded Russian Elena Dementieva as she saw off compatriot Vera Dushevina 7-5, 6-3 to make the quarter-finals.

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