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Petrova downs Henin-Hardenne to win German Open

Written by: Staff

BERLIN, May 14: World number four Nadia Petrova beat French Open champion Justine Henin-Hardenne 4-6 6-4 7-5 today in a thrilling German Open final.

The powerful Muscovite dug deep in the deciding set and gained revenge for her defeat by the feisty Belgian in last year's final on the clay at the Steffi Graf stadium.

The 23-year-old went into the final with a 14-match winning streak on clay but had never beaten the Belgian on the surface in four previous attempts.

''The decisive thing was my fighting spirit,'' Petrova said. ''I don't think I made the best start today but I really put my heart into this match.'' Henin-Hardenne had looked in blistering form in yesterday's semi-finals, humbling world number one Amelie Mauresmo 6-1 6-2, and made the better start today in overcast conditions punctuated by the occasional burst of sunshine.

Petrova briefly left the court after the first set and reappeared with strapping on her right thigh but did not seem to be hindered in her movement on her return to action.

The tall Russian called for the doctor again after winning the second set and took a medical time out to receive treatment on her shoulder.

But she shrugged off the distraction to close out the match when Henin-Hardenne went wide on a forehand in the 12th game of the deciding set.

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