Tennis-Henin plays leading role in Williams' absence
ZURICH, Switzerland, Oct 16 (Reuters) - Belgian Justine Henin admitted on Wednesday that the Williams sisters have left the rest of the WTA Tour doubting their own ability.
The 20-year-old world number eight cruised past Israel's Anna Smashnova as she progressed into the quarter-finals of the Swisscom Challenge in Zurich, and later admitted: "If the Williams sisters are not playing a tournament everyone smells a chance to win it. If they are playing it is different.
"It is hard to play against any player if Serena and Venus are not in the tournament because every player believes they have a chance."
Henin, who lost to Swiss hope Myriam Casanova in her opening match at Filderstadt last week, was given a bye into the second round of the Zurich tournament.
She showed no sign of rustiness, however, demolishing her more experienced opponent 6-3 6-1.
"I am very satisfied with my game," she said. "You always have to be patient against Smashnova and I feel I played very well."
The fourth seed, whose side of the draw includes top remaining seed and defending champion Lindsay Davenport, will now face either Russia's Anastasia Myskina or Bulgarian Magdalena Maleeva.
Very candid and honest comments from Justine. Seems maybe the domination of Venus and Serena is having an effect on WTA players.