Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Justine Henin beats Tsvetana Pironkova at French Open

Justine Henin beat Tsvetana Pironkova 6-4 6-3 to reach the second round in her first appearance at the French Open since winning her fourth title in 2007.

The 27-year-old Belgian, who ended her 20-month retirement in January, edged the first set and looked in cruise-control in the next at 2-0 up.

Bulgarian Pironkova, ranked 81 in the world, won three successive games and had break points for a 4-2 lead.

But Henin, currently ranked 22, roared back to comfortably wrap up victory.

Despite a minor wobble midway through the second set, it was a pretty impressive return to Roland Garros for Henin, who opted to retire rather than defend the crown she won three years ago.

She will play either Klara Zakopalova or Katarina Srebotnik in the second round, with Maria Sharapova a potential third-round opponent.

In other women's matches, 18th seed Shahar Peer from Israel beat Spaniard Nuria Llagostera Vives 6-1 6-4 and will next face Russian 21st seed Vera Zvonareva who overcame Italian Alberta Brianti 6-3 6-1.

Russia's Anastasiya Pavlyuchenkova, seeded 29, secured her spot in the second round with a 6-4 6-2 win over home favourite Alize Cornet, while Slovakian 23rd seed Daniela Hantuchova defeated Thailand's 33-year-old Tamarine Tanasugarn 6-1 6-1.


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