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Wimbledon: Justine Henin v Nadia Petrova as it happened

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By Ben Dirs
BBC Sport at Wimbledon

Justine Henin tells BBC Sport: "I am very happy the way I played today. That may be the best level I have played since I have come back. It is not like Nadia did not play well. She pushed me to raise my level so I had to play a good match to win. It is fantastic to play Kim again - it is a great opportunity for both of us and we are going to try to enjoy it."

Henin 6-1 6-4 Petrova
Petrova serving to stay in the match. Henin makes a rare unforced error on the backhand side before Petrova chokes at the net, fluffing a very wooden-looking forehand volley. Petrova then prods a backhand long and follows up with a double-fault - two match points, and Henin only needs one of them, Petrova handing it to her on a plate with a nervy-looking forehand long.

Henin 6-1 5-4 Petrova*
Easy as shelling peas for Henin, she holds to love... Clijsters awaits, she made pretty short work of Kirilenko, 6-3 6-3...

*Henin 6-1 4-4 Petrova
Big game this, can Petrova hold her nerve? She moves into a 40-0 lead with two straight aces, the second 113mph, but Henin throws in a touch of artistry with a sweet drop-shot on the backhand side. Henin with a ferocious return makes it 40-30 and she's right back in it courtesy of a string of backhands. Petrova pulls out a swinging first serve into Henin's body and does hold with a cracking backhand winner down the line.

Henin 6-1 4-3 Petrova*
Third ace from Henin before making it 30-15 with a good serve out wide. Henin might have been off the rails for a few games but she's popped back into the groove, first following up another searching delivery with a forehand winner before sending down her second ace of the game.

*Henin 6-1 3-3 Petrova
Henin fizzes a forehand winner down the line before rushing the net and putting away an overhead. And just like that Henin's got three break points, the Belgian leaving Petrova clawing at thin air with a threaded backhand. Petrova saves two of them, make that three, Henin firing long with a backhand. Petrova immediately hands the advantage back, putting a backhand long, and it's fourth time lucky for Henin, rocking back and forcing a backhand winner past the flailing Petrova.

Andrew Castle on BBC TV: "Petrova struggled with the big stage at the start but now she is firing on all cylinders and the two-handed backhand is working well for her."

Henin 6-1 2-3 Petrova*
Petrova's got rid of the ring-rust and is freeing the arms now. Petrova has a beef with a line-call but puts it behind her immediately, tearing a backhand winner down the line before unveiling a fist-pump for the first time - she can feel the force is with her. Henin pulls out a couple of clutch serves to hold but from flying under the radar she's now in a dogfight, of that we can be sure.

*Henin 6-1 1-3 Petrova
Petrova's certainly no mug - she made the quarters of the Australian and French Opens this year, monstered Kim Clijsters 6-0 6-1 in Melbourne and also has wins over Serena (in Madrid) and Venus (in Paris) this year. Petrova moves into a 30-15 lead with an ace down the middle but Henin hits back with a couple of laced backhands to win the next point. Petrova has a tendency to get down on court and she lets her feelings known by slamming a ball into the ground and grimacing maniacally. Stunning forehand winner from Henin before the Russian goes long to hand her a break-back point. Henin thinks she's won the game with a forehand down the line but it's called out. Henin slips behind the baseline to hand Petrova a point before holding courtesy of an ace down the T.

Tracy Austin
Tracy Austin on BBC TV: "Nadia played a very solid game there. I really feel there was a dip in play that last game from Justine Henin - a few more unforced errors and she just tightened up slightly."

Henin 6-1 1-2 Petrova*
Fine forehand return from Petrova, she really gives it a blacksmith's club. Henin frames one to give Petrova a sniff but Petrova misses a second serve that sat up tantalisingly, like a meercat, waiting to be devoured. An unforced error from Henin makes it deuce before the Belgian hands Petrova a break point with a forehand that lands long. Well played Petrova - deep, penetrating hitting with plenty of slice and spin and Henin eventually buckles. Henin tightening? Just maybe...

*Henin 6-1 1-1 Petrova
What a point, Henin making Petrova scamper with a lob but the Russian putting away the pass down the line on the turn. A few coruscating serves from Petrova before Henin hits back with a searing backhand return. Petrova on the board in the second set, Henin muffing a backhand volley.

Henin 6-1 1-0 Petrova*
Henin finding the mark with 81% of her first serves, compared with 52% for Petrova, and she's converted 85% of them. Pretty ruthless stuff. Well played Petrova, attacking Henin's second serve and putting away the forehand volley. She follows up with a forehand that balloons long and then a misguided backhand before being outlasted again. The Russian can't hit through Henin and she can't hit round her - she may as well hit the road on the evidence so far...

*Henin 6-1 Petrova
Petrova sends down a savage ace but she just can't put anything together, following up with a forehand long. The ball just coming back at her so fast that she's rarely in position to play her second shot and what a shot that is from Henin, stretching to a serve that's arcing away and leaving Petrova standing with a hooked forehand winner. Longest rally of the match at 14 strokes and Henin finishes it with a dinky little drop-shot - gossamer. Set point but that's nice from Petrova, causing Henin to skid and slip behind the baseline with a cheeky backhand drop shot. Henin goes long with a backhand return but brings it back to deuce with some more scything backhands. Henin really leaping into that forehand of hers and she's got too much pace for Petrova and Petrova hands the opening set to the Belgian with a huge double-fault.

Henin 5-1 Petrova*
Nice scrapping from Petrova as she moves into a 0-30 lead on Henin's serve but Henin pulls a point back with a string of extravagantly executed sliced backhands. Only one unforced error so far from Henin but Petrova forces a break point, only to fluff a forehand into the net. Cute rally from Henin, plenty of depth on either side, before rushing the net and putting away the volley. Petrova goes long with a forehand and for the Russian, this must be like trying to dodge an oncoming locomotive, albeit a small one.

*Henin 4-1 Petrova
Petrova being roasted out there, Henin leaving her floundering with a tracer of a forehand down the line. Another forehand winner before Henin shows us the money shot, leaning back and threading a cross-court backhand winner past the rooted Petrova. One break point saved and that's a ripper of a backhand winner from Petrova to follow. Petrova is lured into the net and Henin snuffs her out with a whipped forehand winner, and that's another break as she outlasts Petrova in a sliced backhand exchange.

Henin 3-1 Petrova*
Tremendous all-court display so far from Henin, tugging Petrova hither and tither behind the baseline before bending those legs and putting away the backhand volley. Petrova not getting a sniff on Henin's serve, that's another service game to love.

*Henin 2-1 Petrova
Petrova, a tall, strapping woman who wouldn't have looked out of place on a Soviet-era socialist-realist poster, perhaps wielding a sickle, finds some groove on serve and gets a number on the scoreboard, winning that game to 15 with the minimum of fuss.

Henin 2-0 Petrova*
Lovely court-management from Henin, manoeuvring Petrova around the grass before putting her away with a forehand winner. And Henin's won that first service game comfortably, Petrova with rather a startled look about her.

*Henin 1-0 Petrova
If Henin does, as expected, win this ecnounter, she will probably meet fellow Belgian Kim Clijsters in the fourth round - good old Kim is two games from victory against Maria Kirilenko. Right, it's Petrova to serve first and she wins the first point after Henin finds the net with a return. Henin wins the next thought before pulling out her first plum of the match, a sweet top-spin pass on the forehand side. Petrova shows some mongrel with two beefy serves but Henin conjures a break point courtesy of a laced forehand and only needs the one - Henin off to a flyer...
* denotes next server

1301: Belgium's Henin is a seven-time major winner but there's a big plate-shaped hole on her mantelpiece - she's made the final twice, in 2001 and 2006, and would probably feel like retiring retire all over again if she managed to land the title this year. Fellow 28-year-old Petrova, a Moscow native, trails Henin 13-2 in head-to-heads and has lost to her twice this year. They've just entered the fray...

1250: Good day to you. Ben Dirs from the All England Club and what an afternoon it is - I'm ecstatic to report that it's picture-perfect on Centre Court, the mercury nudging 80 and it's shorts, flip-flops and summer dresses ahoy. First on court we've got a third-round encounter between Justine Henin, making her first Wimbledon appearance since 2007, and Russia's Nadia Petrova.



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Wimbledon 2010 - day five photos
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Venus claims comfortable victory
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Men's singles latest
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Women's singles latest
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Order of play
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