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Justine Henin Makes Winning Return To Tennis

Justine Henin hadn't reached her first post-match news conference since coming back from retirement before the talk of her winning an eighth Grand Slam singles title began in earnest Monday.Henin beat second-seeded Nadia Petrova of
PTI January 04, 2010 19:18 IST
PTI

Justine Henin hadn't reached her first post-match news conference since coming back from retirement before the talk of her winning an eighth Grand Slam singles title began in earnest Monday.

Henin beat second-seeded Nadia Petrova of Russia 7-5, 7-5 in the first round of the Brisbane International, her first official tour match since announcing her comeback in September.

Henin quit in May 2008 after having spent a combined 117 weeks at No. 1 in the rankings, winning seven majors, an Olympic gold medal and 41 WTA titles.

Petrova said Henin was in better form than when she prematurely quit the tour and had no doubt the 27-year-old Belgian could win another Grand Slam title.

Henin is playing in Brisbane this week and Sydney next week on wild card entries as she prepares for the Australian Open, her first major in two years.

She played a consistent game, despite dropping serve to open the second set, and took advantage as Petrova's forehand errors piled up.

She will next play qualifier Sesil Karatantcheva of Kazakhstan, who beat Australia's Casey Dellacqua 6-2, 0-6, 7-6 (1).

Earlier, 2008 French Open champion Ana Ivanovic won the last three games to finish off a tight tussle 7-5, 1-6, 6-3 over Australian Jelena Dokic 7-5, 1-6, 6-3.

The third-seeded Ivanovic hasn't played since a first-round exit at Tokyo in September, which followed a disappointing first-round loss at the U.S. Open.

After one match back and with a No. 21-ranking, she's aiming to return to the top 10 and play in the year-end championship.

Russia's Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova beat fifth-seeded compatriot Alisa Kleybanova 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 and Czech player Lucie Safarova beat Anna-Lena Groenefeld of Germany 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-1.

Richard Gasquet beat Finland's Jarkko Nieminen 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 in his first match since the Court of Arbitration for Sport last month rejected an appeal from the World Anti-Doping Agency and the International Tennis Federation against Gasquet being cleared of wrongdoing after traces of cocaine were discovered in a March drug test.

In other men's first-round results, Colombia's Alejandro Falla beat seventh-seeded Jeremy Chardy of France 6-4, 6-4 and eighth-seeded Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil defeated Argentina's Juan Ignacio Chela 6-3, 3-6, 6-1.