Henin brings Ivanovic back down to reality with an easy victory.

Belgium remains alive at Hyundai Hopman Cup XXIII after Justine Henin won her sixth straight career meeting with Serbia’s Ana Ivanovic 6-4, 6-3 at Thursday’s Session 9 inside Perth’s Burswood Dome. Belgium remains an outside chance of qualifying for Saturday’s Final as Ruben Bemelmans now needs to defeat world No. 3 Novak Djokovic, and then Henin and Bemelmans need to win the mixed doubles, but at least Henin has kept them alive. If Djokovic beats Bemelmans, or he and Ivanovic win the mixed doubles they automatically go through to the Final.

Henin is playing her first tournament since injuring her elbow at last year’s Wimbledon, but she has now been outstanding in her three singles victories beating Australia’s Alicia Molik, Kazakhstan’s Sesil Karatantcheva and now Ivanovic. The former world No. 1 and winner of seven Grand Slam tournaments showed that despite six months out she is still one of the finest players in the game. She did have to fight back in the first set after dropping the opening two games to Ivanovic as well. She managed to do that and break Ivanovic’s serve twice and win the set 6-4 in 41 minutes. Henin was able to quickly go to a 3-1 lead then in the second set and despite Ivanovic trying her best to get back into it, the Belgian great was able to close it out 6-3.

Henin was happy with the way she played to remain undefeated against Ivanovic from six meetings and she now is backing in Bemelmans to upset Djokovic. ”I’m really happy the way I played. I had a tough start, my energy was pretty low at the beginning of the match and I was bit sleepy and the time. She put a lot of pressure at the beginning and after that I just tried to come back into the court, take every opportunity at the net and be aggressive at the returns, so I can be very happy with the way I played,” Henin said. ”I just tried to put a lot of pressure on her backhand and I tried to lead more down the line or so and on the return it was the key of the match to put a lot of pressure and up to the net.

”Today I had a good fighting period and a good attitude was going to be also the key. The motivation was high and I wanted to win this match and Belgium is still alive and still going. I’m behind Ruben for the next match. It’s going to be tough, but still I believe in him.”


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