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Last Updated: Sunday, 7 September, 2003, 02:01 GMT 03:01 UK
Henin-Hardenne takes US Open
Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin-Hardenne
Justine Henin-Hardenne picked up her second Grand Slam title of the year with a surprisingly comfortable win over Belgian compatriot Kim Clijsters.

Henin-Hardenne's participation in the final had been in doubt after she suffered dehydration following her brave semi-final win over Jennifer Capriati.

But concerns over her fitness proved completely unfounded as she eased to a 7-5 6-1 victory.

"It is such a great feeling," said Henin-Hardenne.

"The match against Jennifer was a real battle and I wasn't sure how I would feel out here today.

"But I was feeling good on the court, I felt okay once the match started."

Despite becoming world number one last month, Clijsters still has the reputation of being a player who often falls short in the biggest matches.

Justine just played a great match, she was too good
Kim Clijsters
She was well below par when the pair met in the French Open final in May, when Henin-Hardenne ripped through the first set to love.

And a repeat performance looked likely from the opening moments with Henin-Hardenne racing into a 3-0 lead as Clijsters lost 12 of the first 15 points.

But the top seed battled back impressively and had two set points of her own in the ninth game, which proved to be the turning point in the match.

Clijsters squandered the opportunity and Henin-Hardenne quickly moved into top gear, winning the next six games to take a commanding lead.

And Clijsters, who is still without a Grand Slam title despite her world number one status, looked shell-shocked as the mistakes crept into her game.

She made 40 unforced errors, double-faulted four times and converted just two of eight break-point opportunities.

That was far too much against Henin-Hardenne, who maintained her focus as she served out the match to claim the trophy, and a cheque for $1m.

"Justine just played a great match," said Clijsters. "She was too good.

"I knew it was going to be very tough. I felt comfortable getting into the match, playing well against all my other opponents. It just wasn't good enough."

Links to more US Open 2003 stories


Justine Henin-Hardenne
"It's such a good feeling"


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