Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Henin beats Craybas to advance
KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. -- Justine Henin advanced to the second round of the Sony Ericsson Open by beating Jill Craybas 6-2, 6-2 on Wednesday.
Henin double-faulted five times Wednesday and struggled with inconsistent groundstrokes. But she saved seven of eight break points while converting five of six.
The 33rd-ranked Henin, a former No. 1 and seven-time Grand Slam champion, is mounting a comeback this year after a 20-month retirement. She'll play fifth-seeded Elena Dementieva in the second round Friday.
"I realize it's gonna take a little bit of time to really be in the good rhythm and find myself again on the court, and I have to get used to different kind of things," Henin said.
"I didn't live this life for almost two years, so that takes a little bit of time," she said.
Henin will face a stiffer second-round test from Dementieva. Henin said she is looking forward to the match to find out where she is with her game.
"Now I'm gonna have a tough round, tough match," Henin said. "That's what I want. So it's gonna be perfect to test myself."
Seeded players had a first-round bye.
James Blake of the United States struggled to oust 18-year-old Serbian wild-card recipient Filip Krajinovic in a 6-7 (6), 6-4, 6-4 first-round win.
After the 2-hour, 13-minute match, Blake joked that "I should be home in bed by now" but credited the teen for keeping him on his toes.
"I'd take that ability at 18 years old over what I was working with at that age," Blake said of Krajinovic.
"I really don't want to give a prediction, but I think, in my opinion, that kid has got some talent," Blake said.
Melanie Oudin closed out the evening with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Michaella Krajicek of the Netherlands.
Making her first appearance in Miami since 1996, 39-year-old Kimiko Date Krumm of Japan earned a 7-5, 3-6, 6-4 victory over Anna Chakvetadze of Russia.
Date Krumm, who retired from the tour in 1996 and started to play again in 2008, spent 2 hours, 32 minutes on the court against Chakvetadze.
Chakvetadze saved two match points she faced while serving at 2-5 in the third set and broke Date Krumm's serve in the next game. The Russian lost the match, dropping her serve at love in the final game.
"In the beginning, everybody said [it was] impossible to come back on the tour," Date Krumm said.
Fourth-seeded Rafael Nadal, who will play on Friday, said a toothache sent him to a dentist and kept him from practicing.
"I had a little bit [of] problem on the teeth, so I didn't practice for a few days," Nadal said. "I started to practice yesterday afternoon. I have an inflammation [of] wisdom tooth. I have to take out all [of them], but not now."
Against Craybas, Henin lost her serve in the second game and sometimes struggled to hold after that. Leading 3-2 in the second set, she fought off four break points before going ahead 4-2.
Serving for the match at 5-2, Henin overcame one break point and needed four match points to close out the victory.
In that final game, Henin missed an overhead shot on the first match point. She followed by netting a forehand drop shot on her second match point. She double-faulted on the third match point before Craybas hit a forehand long on the final match point.
"That happens sometimes," Henin said of missing the overhead. "No excuse about that. It was only a point in the match, so I forgot about that one."
Henin said her comeback will have its up and downs even considering her impressive start to the year. She reached the final of Brisbane before losing to Kim Clijsters and the final of the Australian Open before losing to Serena Williams in January.
"It's not that easy to come back," Henin said. "At the beginning is no pressure; there's nothing.
"I was No. 1 when I retired, and now I have to build again," she said.
Other first-round women's winners on Wednesday were Patty Schnyder of Switzerland, Virginie Razzano of France, Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain and Sara Errani of Italy.
First-round men's winners were Taylor Dent of the U.S., David Nalbandian of Argentina, Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain, Jeremy Chardy of France and Benjamin Becker and Florian Mayer of Germany.