US Open victory puts Henin at the top of the pile

THE BEST: Svetlana Kuznetsova, left, of Russia, poses with Justine Henin of Belgium and her championship trophy after Henin defeated Kuznetsova in the women's finals at the US Open tennis tournament in New York on Saturday. Pic. Elise Amendola. 08/09/07. © AP.
THE BEST: Svetlana Kuznetsova, left, of Russia, poses with Justine Henin of Belgium and her championship trophy after Henin defeated Kuznetsova in the women's finals at the US Open tennis tournament in New York on Saturday. Pic. Elise Amendola. 08/09/07. © AP.

NEW YORK - Justine Henin confirmed her status at the top of the women's game on Saturday with a US Open singles victory that the player believes could be her most significant triumph.

NEW YORK - Justine Henin confirmed her status at the top of the women's game on Saturday with a US Open singles victory that the player believes could be her most significant triumph.

"This one is maybe the most important one," the 25-year-old Belgian told reporters after securing a seventh grand slam title with an emphatic 6-1 6-3 win over former champion Svetlana Kuznetsova.

"I had a lot of things to prove to myself - not to anyone else, just to myself.

"And I did it in style." Henin ended any debate over who would be the player of the year by adding a second US Open title to the fourth French Open championship she snared in June, crowning a year that began with both a divorce and a reconciliation with her family.

"I'm just feeling happy. And the fact that I have my family back in my life helps a lot," the world number one added.

"They give me a lot of support. I'm feeling in peace with myself and that's a very important feeling for me."

On the court, the 1,67m, 57kg dynamo eliminated Australian Open champion Serena Williams in the quarters, and Wimbledon winner Venus Williams in the semis to emerge as the only player to capture two slams this season.

"I'm really proud. Not being that tall and I can compete and be the best player in the world. Not a lot of people really thought I could do it and that's why I'm really proud of it.

"Not a lot of people thought I could win this Open with the draw I had and I did it. It's amazing for me."

Henin said she was fatigued after her gruelling match against Venus Williams in Friday's semifinal.

"I think she was the other big favourite," she said. "And we proved it with the match we played yesterday, because it was a high-quality match. - Reuters

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