Tue, Oct 23, 2007 - Page 18 News List

Henin claims ninth title of year with win over Golovin

AFP , ZURICH

Justine Henin claimed her ninth title of the year on Sunday when she defeated unseeded Tatiana Golovin of France 6-4, 6-4 in the final of the Zurich Open.

The match was a repeat of their final in Stuttgart just two weeks ago, which the top-seeded Belgian won in three sets.

Henin has now won 20 consecutive matches, stretching back to her loss to Marion Bartoli in the Wimbledon semi-finals. The last player to achieve 20 successive victories was Kim Clijsters who won 21 matches in 2005.

Despite her defeat, Golovin has earned an impressive 15 victories in her 18 matches played since the US Open, taking her to a career-high ranking of 13.

She is now the second-ranked player in France, passing Amelie Mauresmo and behind Wimbledon runner-up Marion Bartoli.

The opening game lasted 10 minutes as Golovin fought off three break points, and Henin also resisted a break point in the second game before Golovin broke her to lead 3-1.

The French teenager then came close to wrapping up the set when she led 4-2 and came within two points of breaking Henin a second time. Instead, it was the Belgian who earned a break in the seventh game when Golovin hit an awkward backhand wide.

Henin had looked fragile and inconsistent up until that stage, but she began to play with more confidence and conviction, and a second break left her leading 5-4.

The trainer was called to the court to bandage Golovin's left foot and to give Henin a pill, and Henin then served out the set.

Three consecutive breaks of serve to begin the second set left Henin leading 2-1, the final break coming when Golovin mis-hit a backhand after Henin's return hit the edge of the sideline.

Golovin also faced three more break points at 3-1, but although she saved those she no longer looked capable of turning the match around. Games went easily with serve until the end, when Henin sealed her win with an ace.

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