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11 December 2023

Henin serves up win to progress to quarter-finals

Henin dispatched Karatantcheva in straight sets yesterday. (AFP)


Belgium's Justine Henin continued her successful return to professional tennis with a convincing 6-4, 6-3 win against Kazakhstan's Sesil Karatantcheva at the Brisbane International yesterday.

The former world No1, playing her first official tournament in 20 months, cruised to victory in 77 minutes to advance to the quarter-finals against Hungary's Melinda Czink.

In the men's event, top seed Andy Roddick also maintained his steady buildup to this month's Australian Open with a workmanlike 7-6, 6-3 second round win against big-serving Australian Carsten Ball.

Last year's Wimbledon finalist, resuming after a knee injury cut short his 2009 season, saved a set point before winning the opener in a tiebreak and then snatched the second with a single break of serve.

Roddick's fellow American James Blake saved three match points and recovered from a service break down in the deciding third set to defeat Frenchman Marc Gicquel 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 in a much tighter match on the Pat Rafter centre court.

"I was not going to let him beat me. You play your best when you have that clear mindset," said Blake, who also won his first round match in three sets.

"I would prefer to win in two and two, but it is good to get some tough match-ups in the lead-up to a Grand Slam [Australian Open]."

Czech Radek Stepanek also survived a close shave before beating Ukranian qualifier Oleksandr Dolgopolov Jr 5-7, 7-6, 6-2 to keep alive his Brisbane title defence.

In the women's event, Slovakia's Daniela Hantuchova brushed aside the challenge of Hungary's Agnes Szavay 6-3, 6-1 while Czech Lucie Safarova disposed of Canada's Aleksandra Wozniak 6-3, 6-1 to join top seed Kim Clijsters in the last eight.

Clijsters, who won last year's US Open after making a comeback, cannot meet Henin until the final.


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