Henin tops Mauresmo to win title

UPDATED: 15:42, June 25, 2007

EASTBOURNE, England: Justine Henin avenged last year's Wimbledon final defeat when she beat Amelie Mauresmo to keep the Eastbourne International title on Saturday.

In a thrilling and closely fought final, the Belgian world number one defeated Mauresmo 7-5 6-7 7-6 on the Eastbourne grass.

The final between the top two seeds was an indicator of form for Wimbledon, which starts on Monday and which is the only grand slam title to elude Henin.

Both women came through the Eastbourne draw without dropping a set and only Henin's greater consistency allowed her to beat the French world number four in the final.

French Open champion Henin came back from 4-1 down in the first set to level at 5-5 and then break Mauresmo, who was struggling with her first serve in the windy conditions, to love.

Henin said she was tired after battling the Eastbourne breezes. "The weather was terrible," she told a news conference. "Even though the conditions were much more difficult than in the last few days I felt my serve was better than this time last year."

Beating Mauresmo on grass had given her a boost, she added. "That is pretty good before Wimbledon. Physically I have improved a lot and I am better prepared than I was last year."

Mauresmo, who played with her right thigh strapped up as a precautionary measure, blamed her lack of consistency for the defeat.

"Not enough first serves in, definitely," she told a news conference. "And a few volleys here and there that I had the chance to put away and didn't."

However the week at Eastbourne, where she lost her opening match last year, had given her confidence for Wimbledon, she said.

"Overall, considering the wind, I thought it was a good match," she said. "I am definitely now looking forward to next week."

Source: China Daily/Agencies

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