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Rediff.com  » Sports » Henin-Hardenne to take a break

Henin-Hardenne to take a break

September 06, 2005 09:47 IST
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Justine Henin-Hardenne will take a break from tennis to heal a hamstring injury that affected her in a fourth-round loss on Monday to Mary Pierce.

"It's now a few months I have to play with it," said seventh seed Henin-Hardenne, who won the French Open final against Pierce 6-1, 6-1, but lost in the first round a few weeks later at Wimbledon.

"I'll have to take some decisions in the next few days. I'm not going to walk back on the court until my injury doesn't bother me at all. I'll see how long it's going to take."

Her loss to Pierce was her first after four previous meetings in which she did not lose a set.

"I had a lot of trouble with my serve in this tournament," said Henin-Hardenne, who committed 10 double faults against Pierce.

Henin-Hardenne, the 2003 U.S. Open champion, said the injury was giving her a lot of trouble in the last few weeks, "especially on my serve. I can probably not push like I'm used to."

The 23-year-old Belgian, however, said it was not an excuse for her defeat and she credited her French opponent on her performance.

"Mary played well," she said. "I give her a lot of credit because she played a great match. She's probably playing the best tennis of her career."

PIERCE DELIGHTED

Pierce meanwhile believes that she is playing he best tennis and was delighted with the performance on Monday.

Henin-Hardenne saved three match points as Pierce briefly faltered on the finishing line, but a netted backhand from the Belgian gave her a place in the last eight.

"It's really kind of neat because it's just really what I had hoped for and believed - but probably more hoped for - that my best years were still ahead of me when I had my injuries," Pierce said.

"I'm feeling pretty good about that."

While Henin-Hardenne served ten double faults, Pierce was almost flawless on her own serve and showed uncharacteristic steel to serve out for a place in the last eight.

"I knew I needed a hold to win that match," Pierce said.

"If I didn't, it was 5-all. Anything can happen at that point. I think I did the same thing for the first set.

"I feel like I've been serving well. I'm pretty confident with my serves. You know, they came through for me today."

After working hard in training late last year, Pierce began the season with a first-round defeat at the Australian Open, but bounced back superbly by reaching the final in Paris.

She followed that with a quarter-final appearance at Wimbledon and then won the title in San Diego in the run-up to the U.S. Open.

Pierce said revenge for her defeat at Roland Garros had not been a motivating factor against Henin-Hardenne.

"That final I think just kind of started the confirmation of what I really believed in myself, what I had been working really hard for over a year for," Pierce said.

"I just wanted to do better than the last time I played against Justine. And I just feel that I've improved since then and I'm playing really well lately."

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Source: REUTERS
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