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Last Updated: Saturday, 7 June, 2003, 14:19 GMT 15:19 UK
Henin-Hardenne powers to title
Justine Henin-Hardenne
Henin-Hardenne became the first Belgian to win a Grand Slam title
Justine Henin-Hardenne collected her first Grand Slam title after a stunning 6-0 6-4 win over Belgian compatriot Kim Clijsters.

The encounter between the two Belgians, the first time in four Grand Slam events that the final had not featured a Williams sister, had been hotly anticipated.

But it ended the most-one sided women's final since 1988 when Steffi Graf inflicted a 6-0 6-0 defeat on Natalia Zvereva.

"It was an emotional match for me," Henin-Hardenne said. "I had to fight so hard, and I feel very happy. I went for that win with all my heart."

Watched by a crowd including King Albert and Queen Paola of Belgium, Clijsters looked nervous from the start while her opponent, who ousted world number one Serena Williams in the semi-finals, was quickly into her stride.

The second seed had six break points, but a string of errors meant she could not capitalise on one and Henin-Hardenne wrapped up the first set in just 26 minutes.

I did not even come close to playing my best tennis here. I am pleased Justine won, but I am disappointed in myself
Kim Clijsters

The crowd inside the Philippe Chatrier stadium let out a sympathetic cheer as Clijsters won the first game of the second set, and her boyfriend and men's world number one Lleyton Hewitt urged her on from the players' box.

But she was unable to prevent her compatriot breaking for a 3-1 lead, Henin-Hardenne latching on to a weak drop shot from Clijsters and easily dispatching the winner.

Determined play from the second seed gave her a glimmer of hope when she broke back to to level the set at 4-4.

However, Henin-Hardenne would not be denied and she broke again immediately.

The diminuitive 21-year-old held her nerve brilliantly to serve out the match, and immediately climbed up to the players' box to be congratulated by her husband.



Links to more French Open 2003 stories


 

WATCH AND LISTEN
French Open champion Justine Henin-Hardenne
"When I woke up this morning I said I had to do it for my mum"


Runner-up Kim Clijsters
"I wasn't even close to playing my best tennis today"


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