Belgian star Justine just too strong for Daniilidou

CARLSBAD (California): Third seed Justine Henin-Hardenne showed the form that won her the 2003 French Open title when she destroyed Greece’s Eleni Daniilidou 6-1, 6-1 in the second round of the US$1mil Acura Classic on Tuesday. 

In her first WTA Tour match since she lost to world number one Serena Williams in the Wimbledon semi-finals on July 3, the Belgian was too strong for Daniilidou, 21, who won their only previous meeting, in the Netherlands on grass last year. 

JUST RIGHT: Justine Henin-Hardenne of Belgium gets down low to make a backhand return during her 6-1, 6-1 trouncing of Eleni Daniiildou of Greece in the second round of the Acura Classic on Tuesday.--APpic.

“I’m a completely different player now,” Henin-Hardenne told reporters. “I gave up seven match points there and, at that time, I wasn’t in good mental shape. 

“Tonight I played aggressive when I needed to and I was patient when I had to be. I served well and pushed her into mistakes.” 

Planning an assault on her first US Open crown, the Belgian is attempting to add a formidable net attack to her hardcourt arsenal. 

“I’ll probably have to lose some matches but I know I have to come into the net if I am going to raise my game up to a new level,” Henin-Hardenne said. 

Travelling for the first time in her career without her coach, Carlos Rodriguez, who is at home awaiting the birth of his child, Henin-Hardenne was unsure how she would respond. 

“It was a special situation because he’s always been there for me,” she said. “I didn’t know if I would be there 100 percent so it was a good experience for me. “It’s only me out there and I have to learn how to deal with it.” 

Fourth seed Lindsay Davenport, who has been troubled by a foot injury, trounced fellow American Amy Frazier 6-3, 6-1. 

Sixth seed Chanda Rubin of the US scored a 7-5, 6-0 win over Slovenia’s Tina Pisnik to set up a third-round match against ninth seed Jelena Dokic of Yugoslavia, who toppled Spain’s Magui Serna 2-6, 6-2, 6-3. 

Davenport recently received a cortisone injection to treat an inflamed nerve between the third and fourth toes on her left foot. 

The injury forced the American to retire from her fourth-round encounter with Spain’s Conchita Martinez at the French Open. 

It was then so painful during Wimbledon that, after she lost to Venus Williams in the quarter-finals, the three times grand slam champion mentioned retirement. 

But Davenport said as long as she could play virtually pain free for the next six weeks, she would wait until after the US Open to have surgery. – Reuters  

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