Seven-time Grand Slam champion Justine Henin had been playing the Australian Open final three times in her last four appearances, including last year when the Belgian reached the championship match on her comeback, but this year Svetlana Kuznetsova stopped the former No.1 in the third round and handed Henin her earliest Grand Slam exit since Wimbledon 2005, with a 6-4 7-6(8) win.
Henin seemed affected by an elbow injury which prevented her from playing the second part of the 2010 season, as she made 41 unforced errors. In the second set Henin came back from a break down twice, and gave the 23rd-seeded Kuznetsova a hard time in the tiebreak, but the Russian won on her fourth match point and scored only her third victory over Henin in their 19 meetings.
Top seed Caroline Wozniacki avenged her second round loss to Dominika Cibulkova last week in Sydney, defeating the Slovakian 6-4 6-3 to advance to the fourth round. Wozniacki made equal number of winners and unforced errors (11-11), while Cibulkova outweighed her 31 winners with 41 unforced errors.
Next for Kuznetsova is Francesca Schiavone, and Wozniacki’s next opponent is unseeded Anastasija Sevastova.
As for Maria Sharapova, she screamed off a stiff challenge from Julia Goerges and won the match 4-6 6-4 6-4.
Not really a good match, Justine was serving badly and Svetlana was just good, she can do a lot better. At the end just too many errors cost Justine a match, I hope she’ll fix her injury soon, eversince she was back on tour she hasn’t been at as impressive as she used to be back in 2007 or before, I hope she’ll get at least part from that olde-herself.
I think the new style of play which she tried out did the damage. She never used to be a heavy hitter. She used to use varios degrees of power and used “soft touch” more than other players which is what really made a difference.
But things have started to change since her comeback. I really started to notice a change in Stuttgart. She won it but her style reminded me of big babe tennis and not old Justine.
And I think she learnt at Roland Garros that this is not the way to play and win for her. After just three days she seemed to be pretty exhausted. She would have won this tournament,I think, had she used her old game.
The elbow injury probably occured probably because that. Hitting hard,hard, hard all the time…hmm, I imagine it does your tendons no good.
Hopefully she will recover fully and returns back to the old game which brought her so much success in the past.
Oh so happy! 🙂
And a much belated welcome back Marija! Hope you had a great holiday.
Sam, thanks for the welcome. 🙂 My holiday was awesome, I don’t have time to share the pics, but I went all over Thailand, as much as I could in 2 weeks, and the tropical weather was certainly a wonderful change from the European cold.