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Inspired Garbin sends Henin-Hardenne packing

PARIS, MAY 26. Top-ranked Justine Henin-Hardenne's bid for a second successive French Open title ended when she was upset on Wednesday in the second round by Tathiana Garbin 7-5, 6-4.

The match was just the second following a six-week lay-off for Henin-Hardenne. She was sidelined on April 10 by a viral ailment that left her tired and dizzy, and she decided just last week she was healthy enough to try to defend the title she won last year at Roland Garros.

Against Garbin, a 26-year-old Italian ranked 86th, Henin-Hardenne double-faulted 10 times and converted only four of 18 break-point chances.

The upset opens up one half of the draw for No. 3-seeded Frenchwoman Amelie Mauresmo, and it means no Roland Garros rematch between Henin-Hardenne and No. 2 Serena Williams. Their semifinal last year left Williams in tears after she complained about calls, drew jeers from the crowd and lost to Henin-Hardenne.

Henin-Hardenne had won the past two Grand Slam tournaments — last year's U.S. Open and this year's Australian Open. She fell to 26-3 in 2004.

The versatile Garbin kept Henin-Hardenne off balance, driving her into the corners and mixing in well-timed drop-shot winners. And the Italian was repeatedly better on the big points.

``I never played like this. I can't believe it,'' Garbin said. ``She's still the first in the world, so I'm just happy to have won today.''

The match was played in cloudy, cool weather, and light rain fell at the end. Henin-Hardenne fell behind 4-1 but rallied and served for the set at 5-4. She double-faulted to lose the game, and serving at 5-6, she double-faulted again and lost at love.

Henin-Hardenne trailed 2-0 in the second set, then won four consecutive games. She double-faulted to lose her serve for 4-all, then double-faulted again in the final game to give Garbin two match points. Garbin closed out the upset with a confident backhand pass down the line, then sank to her knees grinning. She's into the third round at a major event for the first time since 2000, the year she won her only tournament title.

Garbin will next play Zheng Jie, who matched the best showing by a Chinese woman in a Grand Slam event by reaching the third round when she beat No. 31 Emilie Loit 6-4, 6-1. Li Fang made the third round at the 1992 Australian Open.

Zheng said anticipation of the 2008 Beijing Olympics has given tennis a boost in her country. ``During recent years the Chinese Tennis Association has paid more attention to tennis,'' Zheng said. ``Because we have the Olympic Games, the city has invested more money and given the national tennis players more opportunities to play many tournaments outside. The training conditions in China are getting better and better.''

Mauresmo beat Anabel Medina Garrigues 6-0, 4-6, 6-1.

Also advancing were four seeded Russian women — Nadia Petrova, Elena Dementieva, Vera Zvonareva and Maria Sharapova. No. 8 Petrova, a semifinalist last year, beat Yuliana Fedak 6-0, 6-1. No. 9 Dementieva defeated Nicole Pratt 6-2, 6-2. No. 10 Zvonareva rallied past Magui Serna 5-7, 6-1, 6-4. No. 18 Sharapova swept Rita Grande 6-2, 6-0. No. 28 Lisa Raymond was eliminated by Arantxa Parra Santonja 6-4, 6-0.

In men's play, third-seeded Guillermo Coria overcame a slow start to beat qualifier Juan Monaco 7-5, 6-1, 6-3. Coria, a semifinalist last year, lost four of the first five games and needed more than an hour to pull out the first set. He rallied from a service break down in the third set.

Coria had 29 winners and just 25 unforced errors against fellow Argentine Monaco, who was playing in his first Grand Slam tournament. Monaco was hurt by 10 double-faults but kept Coria the court for nearly 2 hours.

No. 5 Carlos Moya beat Spanish compatriot Fernando Vicente 6-1, 6-2, 6-1. Moya, the 1998 champion, improved to 11-0 this year against his countrymen.

Another Spaniard, two-time runner-up Alex Corretja, beat No. 13 Paradorn Srichaphan 6-4, 7-5, 6-3. No. 9 Tim Henman eliminated Lars Burgsmuller 6-0, 6-3, 6-3.

Paes-Rikl into second round

Leander Paes and David Rikl moved into the second round of the men's doubles. The 10th seeded Indo-Czech pair defeated Juan Ignacio Carrasco and Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo of Spain 6-2 6-4 in the first round today. — Agencies

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