Melbourne, Jan 21 (AP) Justine Henin has been eliminatedin the third round of the Australian Open, losing 6-4, 7-6 (8)to Svetlana Kuznetsova today just a year after reaching thefinal in her comeback to Grand Slam tennis.
It was Henin''s first loss in a major to Kuznestova, theformer French and U.S. Open champion, and her worst run at aGrand Slam event since Wimbledon in 2005.
Henin was only weeks into a comeback from a career breakfrom the tour when she lost the final last year to SerenaWilliams, the third time in four appearances that she''dreached the championship match at Melbourne. Her comebackseason was derailed when she injured her right elbow atWimbledon and didn''t play again in 2010.
The seven-time Grand Slam winner didn''t lose meakly.
Kuznetsova twice had chances to serve out the match butHenin broke her both times. In a fluctuating tiebreaker,Kuznetsova had two match points at 6-4. Henin sent a servicereturn skidding down the line to save one, then leveled it6-6. She netted a forehand to give Kuznetsova another matchpoint at 8-7 but again hit a powerful forehand service returnwinner to save.
It was fourth-time unlucky for Henin when her forehandlanded wide, giving Kuznetsova only her third win in 19head-to-head meetings.
In the previous match on center court, Caroline Wozniackibeat Dominika Cibulkova 6-4, 6-3 to avenge last week''s loss ina tuneup tournament.
Then she turned the tables on the media. Hearing she''dcome across as a bit boring in recent interviews, she opened apost-match news conference with a funny monologue, saying sheknew what would be asked so she''d just give her stock answersone-by-one. Then she invited questions on more interesting''''topics, and was later asked about piano playing, cricket,football and what she''s looking for in a boyfriend.
Wozniacki, playing her first Grand Slam as the world No.
1, is yet to win one of tennis'' marquee events.
"I am happy I got the revenge since I lost to her inSydney last week; It was not an easy match; She went outthere, she was really on fire; You know, I''m happy to bethrough to the next round," the 20-year-old Danish playerworked through the answers to the usual questions.
Onto the questions about the merits of being ranked No. 1without winning a major. "Uhm, if I deserve to be No. 1. Ifthis was maybe another proof that I belong there. Again, Idon''t feel any pressure to be No. 1."
French Open champion Francesca Schiavone also moved on,beating Monica Niculescu of Romania 6-0, 7-6 (2). No. 9 Li Naof China, who reached the semifinals here last year beforelosing in two tiebreak sets to eventual champion SerenaWilliams, advanced 6-4, 7-6 (8), 6-3 over Barbora ZahlavovaStrycova. MORE (AP) AH