Tennis

Henin downs Karatantcheva

Seven-time Grand Slam winner Justine Henin downed Sesil Karatantcheva of Kazakhstan 6-4, 6-3 as Belgium swept their Hopman Cup tie 3-0 on Tuesday.

The win kept alive Belgium’s hopes of reaching Saturday’s final after an opening loss to Australia in Group A. Kazakhstan was eliminated after its second straight 3-0 loss, the first to Serbia.

Karatantcheva was brought in overnight to replace Yaroslava Shvedova, who withdrew after injuring her knee against Ana Ivanovic on Sunday.

“It’s my first time in Perth and it’s a great experience,” Henin said. “I wait 28 years to come here, but maybe I’ll come back next year, who knows. I love to play in Australia, they have a sports culture, it’s just great.”

Karatantcheva rallied briefly to go 3-1 up in the second set. But Henin bounced back to take the set and match. “It’s not that easy, especially after the injury (to the right elbow since Wimbledon) so I’m working hard to come back,” Henin said.

“It’s the first two matches so I know it’s going to take a little bit of time, but it’s great to have the opportunity to play and be in competition again.”

Belgian youngster Ruben Bemelmans later pulled off a surprise 6-4, 6-4 win over 36th-ranked Andrey Golubev in the second singles.

The left-handed Bemelmans broke serve at 3-3. Golubev could not cope with the Belgian’s pace and footwork, and soon found himself a break down in the second set.

Despite seeing three match points come and go at 5-3, Bemelmans, ranked 178th, served out the match to seal the win. Henin and Bemelmans then beat Karatantcheva and Golubev in the mixed doubles 4-6, 6-2 (10-8).

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Printable version | May 31, 2020 2:53:53 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/tennis/Henin-downs-Karatantcheva/article15506110.ece

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