World No. 5 Elena Dementieva’s bad draw came to fruition on Wednesday at the Australian Open when the Russian was ousted in the second round by unseeded former No. 1 Justine Henin 7-5, 7-6(6).
The Belgian Henin made the difference in the match with some timely net forays and aggressive baseline play, taking the action to the Russian.
“I feel like I was not aggressive enough,” Dementieva said. “I was not playing deep enough. You know, if you look at the statistic, I was not able to make a winners, which I usually do. I mean, she was playing well. But I feel like I gave her the opportunity to play that well.”
Following the match the crowd showed its love for the Belgian playing her first Grand Slam event after coming out of retirement.
“It was very emotional for me on the court at the end because there was so much intensity,” Henin said. “To play this kind of match in the second round, for me, after two years off in a Grand Slam, it’s just the kind of situation that I needed. The crowd gave me so much. So respectful at the end. It was a special night tonight. That’s why I probably came back on the tour, was to live this kind of matches.”
Other upset victims Wednesday were (12) Flavia Pennetta falling to qualifier Yanina Wickmayer, (26) Aravane Rezai losing to German Angelique Kerber, (30) Kateryna Bondarenko tripped up by Britain’s Elena Baltacha, (28) Elena Vesnina falling to Italian Tathiana Garbin, and (24) Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez losing to China’s Jie Zheng.
Seeds of note advancing included (15) Kim Clijsters over Tamarine Tanasugarn, (3) Svetlana Kuznetsova over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, (4) Caroline Wozniacki winning the all-Woz battle against Aleksandra Wozniak, (2) Dinara Safina over Barbora Zahlavova Strycova, (7) Victoria Azarenka over Stephanie Cohen-Aloro, (8) Jelena Jankovic over Katie O’Brien, and (9) Vera Zvonareva dropping only two games against Kristina Kucova.
Clijsters will next face Russian Nadia Petrova.
“That will be a very tough match,” Clijsters said. “I actually saw her match against Justine last week in Brisbane — it was a very high-level match. She obviously has a great serve. She’s tall. She really has a very clean serve. Places the ball well, hits it very clean.”
Thursday’s highlights include Sybille Bammer vs. (6) Venus Williams, the gimpy (1) Serena Williams vs. Petra Kvitova, the easy-on-the-eyes match-up of Gisela Dulko vs. (20) Ana Ivanovic, (22) Daniela Hantuchova vs. Sofia Arvidsson, Agnes Szavay vs. (16) Na Li, Julie Coin vs. (17) Francesca Schiavone, and (9) Vera Zvonareva vs. Iveta Benesova.
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