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Team WTAworld, Administrator, aka Nibbler
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GOLD COAST, Australia (AP) -- Belgium's Justine Henin, voted the most improved player in women's tennis last year, had a shaky start to her 2002 season with a three-set win Tuesday over Slovakian Daniela Hantuchova.

The 19-year-old Henin, the second seed here behind American Venus Williams, beat Hantuchova 1-6, 6-0, 6-3 at the Australian women's hardcourt championships at Royal Pines.

Organizers are pinning their hopes on a Wimbledon final rematch between Henin and Williams, who was also given a first-round bye and faces Switzerland's Patty Schnyder on Wednesday.

``I am a little bit more nervous than I was last year because I had nothing to lose,'' Henin said Tuesday. ``I will need a little bit of time to understand this new player that I am.''

Elsewhere, seventh seed Daja Bedanova of the Czech Republic advanced to the third round with a three-set win over South African Joannette Kruger.

The 18-year-old Bedanova, No. 28 in the world following wins over several top 10 players, won 3-6, 7-5, 6-2 at the Royal Pines Resort.

Fifth-seeded Italian Silvia Farina-Elia advanced to the second round in a tough three-setter, beating Frenchwoman Emilie Loit 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 in stifling heat, and South Korea's Cho Yoon-jeong beat Irina Selyutina of Kazakstan 6-2, 6-4.
 

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Hello Josh,

Thanks for the info. Justine is my second favourite player and that one handed backhand is to die for. It's understandable that she played like she did after all Hantuchova is an excellent prospect for the future and it being Justine's first match in a while. Good luck to Justine for the remainder of the tournament.
 

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Pound for pound, Justine Henin, IMO, is the most talented player in women's tennis. But Justine has alot of pressure on her this year. Players are going to be ready for her. Do you think she can handle the great expectations?

P.S. - I also think that Justine's weight training is a gamble. Bigger muscles might lead to more injuries, or even a loss of her great touch and great array of shots.
 
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