Is she gone for good this time?

Justine Henin retired from tennis for a second time Wednesday, citing a lingering right elbow injury.

The past few weeks, there was a little bit more pain every day, but I thought my willpower would prevail. Today, the tests and my doctors are adamant. It is clear now that I have to accept that my career ends for good. Even if it is hard, very hard, at a time when I came back with enormous fighting spirit.

Henin, 28, won 43 WTA singles titles and seven Grand Slam singles titles, including four French Open titles, one Australian Open title, and two US Open titles. She has also won the year-ending Sony Ericsson Championships twice and the singles gold medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics.

She announced retirement from professional tennis in May 2008 and returned to competition in 2010.
She reached the 2010 Australian Open final (lost to Serena Williams) but missed the most part of the season, due to an elbow injury.

Kim Clijsters, who will play Li Na in Saturday’s Australian Open final after defeating Vera Zvonareva in straight sets, said she was surprised by the news:

“I was obviously surprised when I heard that news. To be honest, I haven’t been in touch with her, so I don’t know what the situation is with her elbow. It is a sad situation to see such a great player end her career on such a note.”

It was against Clijsters at Wimbledon that Henin slipped awkwardly and suffered the injury to her elbow that ultimately ended her career.

I must say I never really like her personality but her game was beautiful to watch, in particular her one handed backhand. I wish her the best for the future.

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Caroline Wozniacki, Francesca Schiavone, Victoria Azarenka and Na Li roll into fourth round with straight sets wins. Maria Sharapova had to fight 3 close sets to win over Julia Goerges.
Venus was forced to retire from her her third round encounter against Andrea Petkovic after just six minutes.
The only semi surprise today was Kuznetsova‘s win over Henin.

All the favorites who were playing today (Federer, Djokovic, Berdych, Roddick, Verdasco) are also through to the fourth round in the men’s draw.

Stat of the day: 57
Today four-time champion Roger Federer overtook Stefan Edberg, as the player who has won the most Australian Open matches (57).
Well, Stefan still holds the record for the number of matches won by playing SERVE AND VOLLEY. Remember what it is Federer?

Match of the day: Svetlana Kuznetsova defeats Justine Henin
For me Kuznetsova has always been some kind of a female Marat Safin: an extremely talented underachiever. She was 2-16 before her third round match against Henin, but this time she dominated with her powerful groundstrokes and overcame her nerves to knock the 7-time Grand Slam champion out of the tournament in a 6-4, 7-6 (8) victory.

Matches to follow on day 6:
Samantha Stosur(AUS)[5] vs. Petra Kvitova(CZE)[25]
Rafael Nadal(ESP)[1] vs. Bernard Tomic(AUS)
Flavia Pennetta(ITA)[22] vs. Shahar Peer(ISR)[10]
John Isner(USA)[20] vs. Marin Cilic(CRO)[15]

The No.5 seed in Melbourne, Sam Stosur will enter the event as Australia’s best hope and only seeded player.
It has been 28 years since the Australian Open was won by homegrown talent, not since unseeded Chris O’Neil surprised everybody for her one and only career title at the Open in 1978.
A former world number one in doubles, she was sidelined for about 9 months in 2007-2008 with the debilitating career-threatening Lyme’s disease. She recovered to regain her place in the top 30 in 2009 and since then she seems to have some kind of a second, more successful career.

Sam had a standout 2010 season, reaching the finals at Roland Garros and the Masters’ semifinals, and cracking the top 5. She is now a real threat in the Grand Slam tournaments.
Her 2011 season is quite caotic so far as she suffered two second round losses in Brisbane (lost to Jarmila Groth) and Sydney (lost to Svetlana Kuznetsova). She could face Zvonareva in quarter final and Clijsters in semies. But her biggest challenge will be to deal with the pressure.

Let’s have a look at the other contenders:

Caroline Wozniacki
She’s probably the player (apart from Stosur) with the most pressure on her shoulder as she has to prove she can finally win a Slam.
Her best result Down Under was a fourth round last year, so nothing impressive, but she proved her game is effective on hard courts, as she reached the final at Flushing Meadows in 2009 and the semies last year.
Wozniacki has a tough half of the draw with 5 previous Grand Slam champions (Venus Williams, Francesca Schiavone, Justine Henin, Maria Sharapova and Svetlana Kutznetsova).

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Really colorful adidas outfits for the Australian Open. I like Pennetta‘s and Ivanovic‘s but Henin‘s outfit is UGLY!

Flavia Pennetta

Ana Ivanovic

Justine Henin

A: Andy Murray
After his semi at Wimbledon and his impressive win in Montreal, Andy Murray seemed ready to win his elusive maiden Grand Slam. Ousted by big server Marin Cilic in the fourth round, Murray has perhaps finally learned that to win a major one must act more than react.

B: Bernard Tomic
Australia’s hottest tennis prospect won his second junior GS title, defeating Chase Buchanan in finals. At just 15 years and three months, Tomic became the youngest junior GS winner in history in Melbourne in 2008. He has now decided to shift his focus on his professional ranking.
Do you think he will emulate Andy Roddick, winner in juniors in 2000 and in seniors in 2003?

C: Caroline Wozniacki

Caroline Wozniacki, 2009 US Open

First major final for the 19yr old Dane, who had to face only one seed to reach the final: in the fourth round against reigning French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, Wozniacki rallied a break down in the third set to win 2–6, 7–6(5), 7–6(3). But she couldn’t put an end to Clijsters’ fairytale comeback.

D: Djokovic Novak
In his semi against Federer, he never acted like he could win. He tried to revamp his image following his 08 US Open faux-pas but it’s perhaps time for him to revamp his game.

E: Esther Vergeer
Forget Sampras, Federer and Lendl, Esther Vergeer is the most dominant player ever, and you probably never heard of her.
Unbeaten since January 2003, the 28 yr old wheelchair tennis player won her 8th US Open title, her 139th singles titles.

F: Flavia Pennetta
The 27 yr old italian had a terrific summer with wins in Palermo on clay, in Los Angeles on hard court, and an entry in the top 10 ranking. Flavia lost only 6 games in her first three rounds at the US Open but saved six match points against Zvonareva to reach the quarter finals, where Serena defeated her in straight sets.

G: Gonzalez Fernando

Fernando Gonzalez, 2009 US Open

The hard hiting Chilean made it through to the quarter finals for the second time of his career, beating 7th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the fourth round. He then played two close sets to Rafael Nadal, before falling in 3 sets in an empty Arthur Ashe stadium.

H: Henin Justine
“I do think that [Henin] is planning something” Clijsters said. “She’s always been very competitive as well, and the way she ended her career still seems strange to me. I do think that she will come back.”
She was right indeed. Two weeks after Clijsters’ triumph at Flushing, Henin announced her comeback.

I: Isner John
Isner, the giant turned giant killer was the last American standing in the men’s singles draw at the U.S. Open. The Georgia University graduate stuned Roddick in the thid round in a five set thriller: 7-6(3), 6-3, 3-6, 5-7, 7-6(5). He then bowed out to Spain’s Verdasco in four sets in the next round.

J: Juan Martin Del Potro

Juan Martin Del Potro, 2009 US Open

Juan Martin Del Potro ended Federer’s five year unbeaten streak at the US Open to win his first Grand Slam title.
“I had two dreams this week” said Del Potro during the trophy ceremony: “One was to win the US Open and the other is to be like Roger”. “One is done, but I need to improve a lot to be like you”.
With a monster forehand and a consistent backhand, the Argentine possesses all the weapons to become the next number one.

K: Kim Clijsters

Kim Clijsters, 2009 US Open

“I am looking at this as a second career, not as a comeback, as I am now in a situation where not everything revolves around tennis 24h a day.”
In only her third tournament since her come back, she won her second US Open title, becoming the first mom to win a major since Evonne Goolagong in 1980.

L: a little LOVE for Safina?
Dismissed by her peers and the media for her Grand Slam collapses, Dinara Safina was furious at the organisers for shifting her 3rd round match from Arthur Ashe to Louis Armstrong stadium. But no matter the stadium, a loss is still a loss: she was defeated by Petra Kvitova, ranked 72.

M: Marin Cilic
Marin Cilic scored the biggest upset of US Open 2009, defeating Andy Murray in the fourth round 7-5 6-2 6-2. Despite a set and a break up, he lost against eventual winner Juan Martin Del Potro in quarter finals.