Justine Henin beats Flavia Pennetta, eyes Wimbledon title


Justine HeninJustine Henin will be making her return to competitive tennis at the Brisbane International in January, and the Belgian is preparing the world for what will probably be another era of her dominance.

The 27-year-old Henin beat world No.12 Flavia Pennetta 6-4 6-4 in an exhibition tournament in Belgium on Sunday, showing how big a contender she still is (not that anyone doubted).

The main goal of Henin’s return will be to add Wimbledon to her collection of seven Grand Slam titles. She reached the Wimbledon final in 2001 and 2006 – the first one she lost to Venus Williams, the second to Amelie Mauresmo.

After Brisbane, Henin will play the Australian Open, the tournament she won in 2004. (photo: Ralf Reinecke)


  1. So happy she’s back. Knew she couldn’t stay away without her Wimbledon title!! lol. And we can see that’s she’s still at a high level even though she’s been away since 2008. Come on Justine, more GS!!

  2. I don’t think this is that much of an indicator of how ‘dominant’ she still is. Pennetta just got back to training after winning Fed Cup and taking a short vacation, while Justine has been chillin for 1.5 years-of course she’ll be the freshest of the two. Regardless, this Aussie Open just might be the most exciting one contested because there are so many storylines to follow: will Serena win in an even numbered year? will Venus lose the curse and prevail? Will Sharapova dominate like she did two years ago? Will Clijsters become back-to-back slam champ? Will Dinara silence her critics? Even the men’s side has compelling stories: will Murray finally win? will Rafa be healthy enough to dominate? will Roger go back to being undefeated? will Davydenko be the surprise? Or Rodddick, delPo? OH my God I cannot wait!

  3. Yeeey, so happy she is doing well. I’m sure she will excel in 2010. We can look forward to many great intense matches many of which will see Justine as a champion. I really wish she wins Wimbly in the next season. She deserves it the most! Her and Kim will revive the game!
    Regarding some of the question marks Ella mentioned :
    -Venus will need to put her game together as her chances for winning at least one of the slams she hasn’t won yet are slimming
    -I think we’ve seen it all from Maria,the shoulder has hindered her more than she admits it and unless she starts to play some brainier tennis and not power (and scream) game I don’t see her doing great
    -if Kimmy won, uh oh, that would make me sooo happy, I think she is more relaxed now and can keep her head together under a lot of pressure; the real test will come once she’s against Justine
    -Dinara, ah well, I think she’s just happy she is not in the spotlight anymore, haven’t seen an unhappier no.1! She needs to change a lot to succeed at the majors beginning with her moronic coach who offers her no support when she’s down! And she needs it so badly as she is emotionally quite fragile.
    My questionmarks are: Ivanovic (rise or fall?), Zvonareva (will she ever learn to control her nerves?), Dementieva (slam title at last?)

  4. Marine,
    I don’t think Ivanovic will do well. She’s just power and forehand with a crazy ball toss and jumpy nerves, that won’t cut it. Zvonareva is still rehabbing her ankle, so I’m not sure she’ll be fit enough physically, let alone mentally, to win, and Elena, well, I don’t think she can ever win a slam, she loses focus too easily at intense moments and, well, those double faults jump out of nowhere.
    I’ve no idea why Venus hasn’t won the other slams yet. She has the all around game to have won the “calendar year” Grand Slam by now but she’s getting old and has a gimpy knee, you’re right, she better step up her game (and imagine she’s playing on grass or something). I think Maria is done also, she’s always been just serve and grunt to me.
    The more I think with Kim and Justine we’re failing to realise that they’ve been inactive for so long that they are actually giving their body more rest time, not losing form. I won’t be surprised if Justine wins because she’ll be the freshest in the tournament, she should do well. I think it’s too early to tell though.
    I would like for Svetlana, Stosur, Petrova, Penetta, Li Na and Kirilenko to make a good showing, but I’m not counting on it. What do you think of Jelena, Caroline and Victoria? I almost forgot about them. I’m indifferent to them all, not sure how they’ll perform.

  5. Ella, I still think that beating Pennetta is not an indicator to be disregarded. And I would add something to your list – I’m very interested to see how Dokic will do in 2010.

    As for your question about Jelena, Caroline and Victoria, I would order them like this 1. Victoria, 2. Caroline, 3. Jelena. I just don’t see Jelena succeeding at the AO.

  6. Ella, I wouldn’t be so pesimistic about Ana. She has got some issues now but let’s not forget she is only 22 and has plenty of time compared to someone like Elena, for example.
    I think regarding the slam wins Elena, Jankovic, Safina and Zvonareva remain big questionmarks. Elena has won the Olympics last year and this year has done well, too, so I guess there’s still something left there. Jelena and Dinara : more no than yes for me.
    Penneta is an interesting one,if think she has a lot of will and where’s a will there’s a way.Just look at Justine…
    Caroline is also a big force to be reckoned with, I think she’ll mix up the cards next year IF she doesn’t overplay herself as she did this year….
    Kuzy is also a dark horse for me.
    Stosur, Petrova or Li passed their peak and I don’t see any great stuff coming from those. Kirilenko is still young so there may be something but she is on and off player such as Zvonareva. But you know what would be great? If somebody completely new came out and we had a surprise winner. However, the tour is rescued now with Kim and Justine who will get things moving.

  7. guess who i’m rooting for at the aussi open? hahaha obviously for maria!!! the 128 players that enter the tournament they all play tennis well. what makes the difference between ordinary players and champions is the mental toughness! and maria has it! she has a unique fighting spirit!

  8. My pick for AO… anything could happen really. I mean I want to go with Justine (look at Kim’s return), but I don’t want to go all in yet, she needs more practice (3 more tournaments like Kim, lol).
    I think Caroline will make it far as long as she’s mentally tough and doesn’t have any injuries (she completely broke down at Sony, even though I know she was injured), but she needs to be more tough.
    Victoria kind of faded away at the end of the season, but she had a strong start in the beginning, and will probably be refreshed at AO, so I wouldn’t be surprised if she made it far.
    I’m not liking Ana’s or Jelena’s chances at AO just because of the multitude of players who are really good at the top now. But that doesn’t mean they won’t go out trying. On another note, I personally wish Jelena had stuck to Reebok (I don’t like the switch to ANTA so far), me being superstitious and all lol.
    I’d go: 1. Caroline, 2. Victoria, 3. Jelena (but not necessarily the winner).
    If Maria screams I’m changing the channel (it’s already a given). But she’s a tough opponent and doesn’t give up so she’ll probably do well.
    Stosur’s pretty good and she’s got the home advantage, so hopefully she’ll make it far.
    Gotta root for Na Li, lol, she seems to like Australia (she won a title a couple years back) and does well on hard court (well, AO courts lol).
    Kuznetsova: she’s always a top contender/dark horse in tournaments (minus RG) so I wouldn’t be surprised if she made it to QFs or SFs, but I don’t think she’ll win just because of other players.
    Serena/Venus: Out of the 2, I think Serena will make it farther, but I don’t know if either will win.
    I’ve always really liked Elena and have wanted her to win a GS. Can’t she just once?! Her match against Serena was so good!
    Dinara: don’t know if she can pull it off, but she’ll be very consistent as usual. I think a ton of pressure has been relieved since she lost the #1 spot to Serena and hopefully she’ll be able to refocus on winning GS.
    Anyone else? I can’t think of any, but I don’t mind going over other players.


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