Melbourne: Justine Henin has been eliminated in the third round of the Australian Open, losing 6-4, 7-6 (8) to Svetlana Kuznetsova just a year after reaching the final in her comeback to Grand Slam tennis.
It was Henin`s first loss in a major to Kuznestova, the former French and US Open champion, and her worst run at a Grand Slam event since Wimbledon in 2005.
Henin was only weeks into a comeback from a career break from the tour when she lost the final last year to Serena Williams, the third time in four appearances that she`d reached the championship match at Melbourne. Her comeback season was derailed when she injured her right elbow at Wimbledon and didn`t play again in 2010.
The seven-time Grand Slam winner didn`t lose meakly.
Kuznetsova twice had chances to serve out the match but Henin broke her both times. In a fluctuating tiebreaker, Kuznetsova had two match points at 6-4. Henin sent a service return skidding down the line to save one, then leveled it 6-6. She netted a forehand to give Kuznetsova another match point at 8-7 but again hit a powerful forehand service return winner to save.
It was fourth-time unlucky for Henin when her forehand landed wide, giving Kuznetsova only her third win in 19 head-to-head meetings.