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Petrova signals French Open intent with Berlin win

Written by: Staff

BERLIN, May 14 Russian world number four Nadia Petrova appears to be hitting top form on clay at just the right time to mount a strong challenge for the French Open title.

The tall Muscovite, yet to progress beyond the semi-finals at a grand slam, sent out a warning to her rivals with a battling win over Roland Garros champion Justine Henin-Hardenne in the German Open final today.

The 23-year-old Petrova extended her claycourt winning streak to 15 and avenged losses last year to the Belgian in the French Open semi-finals and in the final here.

''I'm really looking forward to Paris. I'll be one of the highest seeded so it'll be a new experience for me,'' Petrova said.

''Of course there'll be some expectations on me but I'm just going to try enjoying every single day that I play there.'' Petrova, who reached the quarter-finals of the Australian Open earlier this year, agreed that she was among the favourites for Roland Garros, which begins on May 29.

''Today was a very good example, beating Justine. She already won the French Open a couple of times and she's one of the most dangerous players on clay courts,'' the Russian said.

''I proved myself on court physically and mentally and of course I'm getting more consistent.'' Henin-Hardenne also sees Petrova as one of the main challengers when she defends her title.

''She will be one of the favourites that's for sure. She's really the player with the confidence right now.'' Petrova plays in this week's Rome event, where she is seeded four, before heading to the French capital.

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