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Last Updated: Saturday, 25 February 2006, 17:35 GMT
Henin-Hardenne claims Dubai title
Justine Henin-Hardenne
Henin-Hardenne parades the trophy after her fine win over Sharapova
Justine Henin-Hardenne repeated her Australian Open semi-final victory over Maria Sharapova to secure her second title of the year in the Dubai Open.

Both players dropped just two points on their serve in the first six games, but Sharapova broke at the net to lead 5-3.

However, the Russian was denied the set as Henin-Hardenne fired a succession of winners to secure four straight games.

The Belgian stepped up the pace again in the second, breaking the 18-year-old twice to close out a 7-5 6-2 victory.

The win was Henin-Hardenne's third title in Dubai, extending her unbeaten run at the tournament to 12 matches, and followed her win in Sydney earlier this year.

I played two difficult games yesterday - it took a lot out of me
Maria Sharapova
And she revealed she had to overcome a number of injuries to seal the win.

"I felt very tired at the end because I have had stomach, knee and shoulder problems this week," said the 23-year-old.

"It was a high quality match, especially in the first set. Maria put a lot of pressure on me, but when I switched to playing down the centre and not out wide, the game turned for me."

Sharapova, who had lost six straight semi-finals until her victory over Lindsay Davenport on Friday, admitted tiredness played a part as she went down to the effervescent Belgian.

"I played two difficult games yesterday," she said. "It took a lot out of me. My legs were starting to get a bit tired and I wasn't moving so well."


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