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Last Updated: Saturday, 23 June 2007, 13:51 GMT 14:51 UK
Henin claims title at Eastbourne
Justine Henin
Henin is the top seed and a strong favourite for Wimbledon
Justine Henin laid down a marker ahead of Wimbledon by beating reigning SW19 champion Amelie Mauresmo 7-5 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-2) in the final at Eastbourne.

Mauresmo seemed set for a repeat of her victory over Henin in last year's Wimbledon final when she served for the match at 5-4 in the decider.

But world number one Henin upped her game to break back and then ran away with the deciding tie-break.

Henin will now go to Wimbledon as a strong favourite for the title.

"It was important for me to come here to Eastbourne," said Henin after her win.

"I passed an important test against Amelie.
The positive thing about this week was that I was able to get onto the grass and find my rhythm

Amelie Mauresmo

"It was all very positive, but Wimbledon is different. I hope that I get another chance at the final."

Mauresmo began the stronger in difficult, blustery conditions and led 4-1 in the opening set but Henin broke twice to take the early initiative.

The Belgian claimed an early break in the second but Mauresmo battled back to force a tie-break which she took 7-4 after opening up a 6-1 lead.

The exciting match swung once more in the decider and Mauresmo seemed well on top as she gave herself the chance to serve for the title.

But Henin kept her powder dry until it mattered and the four-times French Open champion will start her campaign at Wimbledon, the only Grand Slam title she has not won, with real confidence against Argentine qualifier Jorgelina Cravero.

Mauresmo may also take confidence from her competitive performance after a season disrupted by injury.

"I came here not having many matches," she said. "The positive thing about this week was that I was able to get onto the grass and find my rhythm.

"I got to the final and it was close today. I'm disappointed, but I have to stay positive for Wimbledon."



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