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Henin wins third Sydney title
January 11, 2008 17:31 IST
The world number one came back after losing the opening set and later trailing 3-0 in the third to capture her 40th career title and enhance her claims as favourite to win the Australian Open, which starts in Melbourne next week.
Henin is now unbeaten since her loss to Marion Bartoli in the semi-finals of Wimbledon last year and has won 16 of her 18 clashes with Kuznetsova, including last year's US Open final.
Second-ranked Kuznetsova looked to have the match under control when she broke Henin's serve and held her own to lead 3-0 in the deciding set but managed just one of the next seven games as Henin raised her level.
Kuznetsova, 22, had made a flying start to the match, breaking Henin's second service game. Henin pulled back to four-all but her erratic serve let her down again.
A double-fault presented Kuznetsova, who won the US Open as a teenager in 2004, with set-point before an uncharacteristic error off her backhand gave her the set.
Henin, 25, regained her composure to race through the second set and then recovered from an early stumble in the third to win the title for the third time.
Henin's victory is a good omen for her prospects at the Australian Open. She won Sydney in 2004 and 2006 and went on to reach the final at Melbourne both times.
Henin @ Sydney:
Career record: 16-2