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Tennis: Henin-Hardenne, Mauresmo Play for Aussie Open Title

  • Rikki Swannell

Former champion Justine Henin-Hardenne of Belgium and France's Amelie Mauresmo meet in the Australian Open women's final (0230 UTC Saturday). Mauresmo hopes to break the trend of coming close, but never winning, a major championship.

Mauresmo is widely regarded as the best active player not to have won a Grand Slam title. This will be her first major title since bursting onto the scene as a 19-year-old here in Melbourne in 1999.

Mauresmo admits she was too inexperienced back then, is much more mature now, and has the massive confidence boost of winning the season-ending championship in Los Angeles last year.

Henin-Hardenne, though, is as tough as they come. The diminutive Belgian barely played the second half of last season due to injury and only came to Australia to get some matches under her belt.

She is unbeaten so far this year, having won the title in Sydney (Medibank International). She won through to the final in a classic battle with Maria Sharapova, fighting back from a set down with some superb tennis.

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