Sony Ericsson C'ships: Henin begins title defense

Updated: 08 November 2007 18:27 IST

Justine Henin began her title defense at the Sony Ericsson Championships with a 6-1, 7-6 (4) victory against Anna Chakvetadze on Tuesday.

Sony Ericsson C'ships: Henin begins title defense

Spain:

Justine Henin began her title defense at the Sony Ericsson Championships with a 6-1, 7-6 (4) victory against Anna Chakvetadze on Tuesday.

The top-ranked Henin cruised through the first set then rallied to take the tiebreaker over the seventh-ranked Russian - making her first appearance at the WTA Tour's season-ending championships - in the first match of round-robin play in the yellow group.

"The first match and the final I won (here) last year are very different. But I feel very comfortable here," Henin said.

"Being here this week is really motivating and I'm very happy. It reminds me of many things but I try to live in the present because it is absolutely different from next year."

Maria Sharapova returned from a near three-week absence to beat Daniela Hantuchova 6-4, 7-5 in the red group. It was the sixth-ranked Russian's first win since August 31.

Sharapova broke her ninth-ranked opponent in the ninth game before holding serve to take the first set. She then held off a late rally in the second and converted her fifth match point to secure her sixth straight win against Hantuchova.

In the other red group match later Tuesday, second-ranked Svetlana Kuznetsova looked to snap a two-match losing streak against No 3 Ana Ivanovic.

Henin, who trailed 2-0 to start the second set, hit a backhander to the corner to take a 4-3 lead in the tiebreaker before serving out for the win.

Chakvetadze, who withdrew from Quebec City last week with a right shoulder injury, looked rusty with 30 unforced errors and Henin broke twice to take the first set.

Double-faulted

Chakvetadze improved in the second and Henin double-faulted to give the Russian an early break in a back-and-forth set.

Both players had trouble with the other's strong ground strokes and Henin, the French and U.S. Open champion, rallied with consecutive breaks to tie it at 3-3.

After trading breaks again to reach the tiebreaker, Chakvetadze hit into the net on the first match point as Henin improved to 3-0 against her.

Sharapova has been hampered by a shoulder injury since the US Open, and had not played since losing to Belarus' Victoria Azarenka in the third round at Moscow.

Hantuchova started the second set best, getting a break in the first game. But Sharapova broke right back with a crosscourt winner from the baseline to take command.



Topics : Tennis
Related Articles
IPTL: UAE Royals Beat Indian Aces 30-20 to Top Japan Leg
IPTL: UAE Royals Beat Indian Aces 30-20 to Top Japan Leg
Anand Amritraj Gets Support From India's Davis Cup Team
Anand Amritraj Gets Support From India's Davis Cup Team
Tennis Ace Boris Becker to be Present at Kolkata 25k Marathon
Tennis Ace Boris Becker to be Present at Kolkata 25k Marathon
Show Comments
Advertisement