Re: Hi, anyone knows where to view expert's pick on RG matches?
Paris - A pair of thoroughbreds with 10 Grand Slam titles between them are set for an epic and unexpectedly early clash Saturday in the French Open third round as Maria Sharapova takes on four-time champion Justine Henin.
The 12th-seeded Sharapova turned in an efficient performance to hammer Belgian Kristen Flipkens 6-3, 6-3.
Former number one Henin, her ranking down to 23rd after quitting the game for 20 months in 2008 and making a return this year, advanced over Czech Klara Zakopalova by the identical scoreline.
The meeting will be the earliest in a history dating to 2005, when the pair first met in a quarter-final in Miami.
"She has the ability to come out against all different types of players, no matter how big they hit or how strong they are," Sharapova said of her gutsy Belgian opponent, against whom she stands 3-6.
"She's able to play her own game and make you hit lots of balls. You really must be patient against her.
"I look forward to it. I have had really tough losses against her here (one, the 2005 quarter-finals). But in many of out matches, I learned so much. Hopefully this one will be a good quality."
Sharapova, with three majors to her name, last played Henin in 2008, beating her at the Australian Open on the way to the title, which the California-based player added to her 2004 Wimbledon and 2006 US Open honours. "We are back. It's a different Slam, but, you know, it's the same drill," said Sharapova, who has not been past the third round at her last four majors. "It's as if things haven't really changed much.
"You think back to the last few years, and both of us have been in different paths and different times in our lives. But here we are going to face each other tomorrow."
Henin returned to tennis in January, reaching finals in her first and second events, Brisbane and the Australian Open. She won a title on clay in Stuttgart early this month.
"This match is coming very early, third round, but I expect a big fight as we always had in the past. It's gonna be very exciting to play her again in my 'second career.'
"I'll have to raise my level and really put on the intensity, the concentration. The motivation is gonna be really high just to keep going in this tournament. I know it's gonna be a tough match, but I feel ready for it."
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