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Henin-Hardenne Captures 2nd French Open Crown


Tenth-seeded Belgian Justine Henin-Hardenne has dominated home country player Mary Pierce to win the women's title at the French Open clay court tennis tournament outside of Paris.

Despite enthusiastic support from the home crowd Saturday, the 21st-seeded Pierce was outplayed in every facet of the game. The 23-year-old Henin-Hardenne claimed her second Roland Garros crown 6-1, 6-1 in just 62 minutes. The 30-year-old Pierce had mixed emotions after the loss.

"It has been a fantastic tournament and it has been just amazing to reach the finals again," she said. "So I am very happy for that, but I am very sad that I lost, and I wish I would have played a better match."

In a totally one-sided final, Henin-Hardenne won nine straight games to silence Pierce's fans, after falling behind 1-0 in the opening set. The Belgian says she played well to win her fourth Grand Slam title.

"I think I was very focused from the beginning of the match to the end," Henin-Hardenne said. "I really concentrated, and I put a lot of pressure on her, and I think that paid off very good today."

Henin-Hardenne also won the French Open in 2003. She has now won 24 consecutive matches, all on clay, since returning to the court in April, following a series of injuries and a serious viral infection.

In the men's final Sunday, 19-year-old Spanish sensation Rafael Nadal faces unseeded Mariano Puerta of Argentina. The fourth-seeded Nadal topped Number-One seed and world Number-One Roger Federer of Switzerland, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3. Puerta advanced to the final with a marathon five-set win over 12th-seeded Russian Nikolay Davydenko (6-3, 5-7, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4).

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