Henin returns to court at Rogers Cup after month-long break

Aug 15, 2007 - 11:32 PM TORONTO (Ticker) -- Justine Henin finally kicks off her preparation for the U.S. Open as the top seed at the $1.34 million Rogers Cup.

The world's top-ranked player, Henin will open the hardcourt tournament against Slovenian qualifier Andreja Klepac in one of Wednesday's two second-round night matches.

The other evening match will feature second seed Jelena Jankovic facing Canadian wild card Marie-Eve Pelletier.

This will be the first action for Henin since falling in surprising fashion to Marion Bartoli of France in the semifinals of Wimbledon in early July.

Despite that setback, Henin has gone 38-4 with five titles this season, including her sixth career Grand Slam and fourth at Roland Garros.

The 2003 champion and a finalist in 2005, Henin did not appear in this tournament last year due to a right knee injury. However, she was healthy enough to reach the final at last year's U.S. Open, rounding out an appearance in the title match in each of the four Grand Slams.

Henin has never faced the 21-year-old Klepac, who recorded a 6-3, 6-1 victory over American Meilen Tu on Tuesday. The Belgian was one of the top eight players to receive a bye in the first round.

Jankovic is coming off a semifinal loss to fellow Serbian eventual champion and Ana Ivanovic in Los Angeles last week.

The 22-year-old will be meeting Pelletier, who is ranked 193rd in the world, for the first time. The Canadian rallied past countrywoman Ekaterina Shulaeva, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, on Tuesday.

The No. 13 seed, Sybille Bammer of Austria awaits the winner of that match after posting a 6-4, 6-2 win against Canadian wild card Aleksandra Wozniak.

Both Henin and Jankovic should take nothing for granted on a day that has seen its share of upsets.

The No. 4 seed here after her success in Los Angeles, Ivanovic was sent packing by Chinese qualifier Zi Yan, who emerged with a convincing, 6-3, 6-1, win. Unseeded Eleni Daniilidou, also a winner Wednesday, awaits Li in the third round.

Fifth-seeded Anna Chakvetadze was trailing, 7-6 (7-5), 2-0, when a viral illness forced her to retire from her match with unseeded Virginie Razzano. It was a rare setback for the Russian, who began the summer hardcourt season with 12 consecutive wins that lifted her to back-to-back titles at Cincinnati and Stanford.

Additionally, Chakvetadze was semifinalist in San Diego where she lost to eventual champion Maria Sharapova of Russia. Razzano's opponent in the third round is No. 11 Shahar Peer of Israel who advanced Tuesday.

In early matches, unseeded Italian Francesca Schiavone rallied to defeat No. 8 Elena Dementieva, 6-7 (5-7), 6-3, 6-2, and American Meghann Shaughnessy took a similar path in beating No. 16 Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic, 3-6, 6-4, 7-5.

Shaughnessy moves on to face No. 3 Svetlana Kuznetsova, one of three players to advance to the third round on Tuesday. The Russian has beaten Shaughnessy four consecutive times, including both meetings this season.

Schiavone will face No. 12 Tatiana Golovin of France, who advanced with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Slovakian qualifier Dominika Cibulkova.

Fresh of her loss to Ivanovic in the Los Angeles finals, No. 6 Nadia Patrova avoided the upset bug as she came from behind to defeat Canadian wild card Stephanie Dubois, 6-7 (7-4), 6-2, 6-1.

That sets up a third-round encounter with No. 10 Patty Schnyder, a 6-3, 6-2, winner over Flavia Pennetta of Italy on Wednesday. The Switzerland native owns a 6-4 advantage in the the all-time series with Petrova.

In other action, No. 9 Dinara Safina eased into the third round with a 6-1, 6-2 win over unseeded Frenchwoman Nathalie Dechy.

Bartoli will be Safina's opponent in the round of 16 after a win over Russian Maria Kirilenko, who trailed, 6-2, 2-1, before retiring with a left knee injury. Bartoli won the only meeting between the players earlier this year on the hardcourts at Indian Wells.

First prize is $181,980.

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