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Last Updated: Saturday, 31 January, 2004, 04:35 GMT
Henin takes Australian crown
Justine Henin-Hardenne
Justine Henin-Hardenne took her first Australian Open title with a dramatic 6-3 4-6 6-3 win over Kim Clijsters.

The world number one had looked set for a comfortable victory over her fellow Belgian when she took the first set and established a 4-2 lead in the second.

But Clijsters fought back brilliantly to level the match and then again in the decider after falling 0-4 down.

Henin-Hardenne found her form at the right time, however, to deny Clijsters a first major title for the third time.

"It was very emotional. I thought I could not close the match in the second set, in the third set I felt the crowd give support to Kim," Henin-Hardenne said.

I think Justine played a great final and in the end she was too good
Kim Clijsters

"Both of us were really nervous. On the important points I could win and I was feeling just unbelievable.

"I have three Grand Slams now and I have not realised it yet."

In a match which ebbed and flowed, the turning point for Clijsters came at 3-4 in the deciding set.

The 20-year-old twice had game point, but each time delivered a nervy double fault.

Henin-Hardenne forced a break point which Clijsters looked to have saved with a powerful drive volley on to the baseline.

However, as Clijsters and the crowd celebrated, the umpire called the ball out and Clijsters could not recover.

Serving for the match, Henin-Hardenne held her nerve and after clinching the win, dropped to her knees to celebrate.

Links to more Australian Open 2004 stories


Australian Open winner Justine Henin-Hardenne
"I want to win all four Grand Slams"

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