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Henin picks women's tennis gold Sportsdesk | August 22, 2004 01:06 IST

Top seed Justine Henin-Hardenne is the new Olympic women's singles tennis champion, giving Belgium its first gold medal of the XXVIII Olympiad.

The world number one made short work of second-seeded Frenchwoman Amelie Mauresmo in the final of the event at the Olympic Tennis Centre in Athens to win in straight sets 6-3, 6-3.

Henin-Hardenne, who has missed a lot of tennis this year through injury and only hastened her return to participate in the Olympics, was hardly troubled by Mauresmo who failed to push her to break point even once.

Henin-Hardenne, on the other hand, had two break points in the first set, in the third and ninth games, and converted both to take the set in just 32 minutes.

Mauresmo struggled even more on her serve in the second set, conceding seven break points. She managed to stave off six, but the one that she could not save, in the second game, was sufficient for the Belgian to take the gold medal.

The gold medal match thus proved something of an anti-climax, after two bronze medal playoffs that lasted well over three hours, in the men's doubles event on Friday night and the men's singles event on Saturday evening.

Henin-Hardenne had had to work much harder to get into the final than she had to actually win it. French Open champion Anastasia Myskina pushed her to the very limit in the first semi-final on Friday, which saw the champion stage one of the great comebacks of her career.

She fought back from 1-5 down in the deciding third set to win 7-5, 5-7, 8-6 and book her berth in the final.

Mauresmo had had a much easier time beating unseeded Australian Alicia Molik 7-6, 6-3 in the other semi-final.

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