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Henin-Hardenne 'has no choice but to get stronger'

Associated Press

BERLIN -- Justine Henin-Hardenne began her German Open title defense Tuesday by overpowering Daja Bedanova of the Czech Republic 6-4, 6-1.

The second-seeded Belgian won in 74 minutes, taking advantage of her opponent's weak second serve.

"I probably didn't play my best tennis today, but I did my job,'' Henin-Hardenne said.

The $1.2 million clay-court event drew seven of the world's top 10 players.

Henin-Hardenne has been working harder with weights in hopes of better competing with Serena and Venus Williams.

"I had to get stronger or I have no chance -- and I worked so hard I cried sometime,'' she said. "I've definitely closed the gap. I think clay is my best surface. Maybe when I win a major it will be the French Open.''

Daniela Hantuchova edged Austria's Barbara Schett 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 to join Henin-Hardenne in the third round. Since reaching the Australian Open quarterfinals, Hantuchova has made numerous early exits, including three losses to players ranked 69th or lower.

"I don't know why I've been losing some of these matches,'' she said. "I try not to think about it.''

Twelfth-seeded Eleni Daniilidou of Greece downed German qualifier Angelika Bachmann 6-2, 6-2; 14th-seeded Meghann Shaughnessy defeated Iva Majoli of Croatia 7-6 (3), 3-6, 6-4; and 16th-seeded Anna Pistolesi of Israel routed Tatiana Panova of Russia 6-1, 6-1.

Former Wimbledon winner Conchita Martinez, who won this event in 1998 and 2000, lost to Germany's Marlene Weingartner 6-2, 7-5. Weingartner had never won in her homeland.
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