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Henin defeated in Dubai quarterfinals

Defending champion says her opponent was the better player and deserved to win

Francesca Schiavone reacts after winning against Justine Henin at the WTA Dubai Tennis Championships in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on Thursday.
Justine Henin walks from the court after being defeated by Francesca Schiavone at the WTA Dubai Tennis Championships in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on...

Francesca Schiavone reacts after winning against Justine Henin at the WTA Dubai Tennis Championships in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on Thursday.

Justine Henin walks from the court after being defeated by Francesca Schiavone at the WTA Dubai Tennis Championships in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on...

Top-ranked Justine Henin suffered defeat for the first time at the Dubai Championships and for the first time to Francesca Schiavone of Italy on Thursday.
Henin, the four-time defending champion, had her 17-0 record at the Aviation Club ended in the quarterfinals by unseeded Schiavone, against whom she was 7-0.
The Italian, ranked 24th, won 7-6 (3), 7-6 (4) in 2 hours, 25 minutes. She and Henin had two service breaks each.
"She played really well," Henin said. "She was hitting hard, coming to the net, slicing ... really mixing it up. I had my chances but I did not take them, whereas she did. She was definitely a better player and deserved to win."
Schiavone was to play eighth-seeded Elena Dementieva in the semifinals yesterday, while No. 2 Svetlana Kuznetsova will meet No. 4 Jelena Jankovic.
Henin had the only break point of the first set at 2-2 but missed it and Schiavone dominated the tiebreaker.
In the second, Schiavone broke for 3-2 and 4-2 and had a match point serving at 5-4 but Henin rallied each time to force another tiebreaker. However, Schiavone won the last four points.
"I have beaten (Amelie) Mauresmo when she was world No. 1 in a Fed Cup match, but definitely this win against someone like Justine, who always plays at such a high level, is the biggest win of my career," Schiavone said.
Unseeded Mauresmo, the 2002 champion and runner-up to Henin last year, lost for a fourth straight time to Kuznetsova 6-1, 7-6 (4). The Russian even their head-to-head at 4-4.
Like Kuznetsova, Jankovic was another former Dubai finalist. Jankovic celebrated her 23rd birthday on Thursday with a win when sixth-seeded Anna Chakvetadze retired with a left thigh injury after losing the first set 6-1.
"I came on court today and everybody started singing and everybody's in a good mood and saying I have to win because it's my birthday," Jankovic said. "It's very strange to play on your birthday because if you don't win you're very disappointed and it's not a good way to celebrate the day, but I got through the day so it's good."
She received a cake on the court afterwards and shared it with Serbian fans.
That made up for Ivanovic, the Australian Open finalist, falling to Dementieva 6-7, 6-3, 6-3 for a third straight time. Dementieva, a two-time Grand Slam finalist, was making her debut in Dubai after having to withdraw ill last week from Doha.


Updated : 2021-05-12 22:09 GMT+08:00