Melbourne, Jan 19: Justine Henin Hardine, overcame the niggles of a sore shoulder and put on display an amazing array of tennis skills to beat Elena Baltacha 6-1, 6-3 in the 2nd round of Australian Open 2011.
Britain's Elena Baltacha, put up a valiant effort to thwart the rampaging Henin, and with the Belgian struggling with a sore shoulder, she must have sniffed a shock victory. But that was not to be. Henin, gave a clear demonstration of what sets champions apart from ordinary mortals. Henin played to her strengths and gave no room for the plucky Brit to take advantage of her injury.
Henin had injured her right elbow during a match with Kim Clijsters at the Wimbledon 2010. The ligament damage was so severe that specialists feared she may no longer take part in competitive tennis. But she did and continues to do so courtesy her amazing mental strength.
Winner of seven majors, Henin now seems well on course for the eighth one and her second Australian Open title. She had won the title in 2004.
At the end of the match, Henin said, "I think I've been playing well when I had to," and added, and put the pressure I needed to put at the right time. I was feeling confident in my service games. A little bit less, especially in the second set on the return. But it's been good things. Should have been maybe a little more aggressive beginning of the second set, but generally it's been pretty good."
Henin will now take on Svetlana Kuznetsova in the 3rd round of the tournament on Jan 21. And for Baltacha, the World No.55, this will be the end of her singles journey in the Australian Open 2011, but the experience should be an enriching one and as she herself said, "It was an amazing experience, really amazing experience to play a legend."