Henin-Hardenne brings home Fed Cup trophy | india | Hindustan Times
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Henin-Hardenne brings home Fed Cup trophy

india Updated: Sep 18, 2006 12:41 IST

A hurting Justine Henin-Hardenne beat Francesca Schiavone of Italy 6-4, 7-5 on Sunday to bring Belgium within one victory of the Fed Cup title.

In a last-minute twist, Italy replaced Flavia Pennetta, who had been struggling with a wrist injury, with 33rd-ranked Mara Santangelo to face Kirsten Flipkens in the second reverse singles match.

Saturday, Henin-Hardenne struggled to beat Pennetta 6-4, 7-5 while Schiavone overwhelmed Flipkens 6-1, 6-3.

Flipkens, ranked 98th in the world, was a replacement for the injured Kim Clijsters, who sat courtside to cheer on the team.

Belgium was looking for its second Fed Cup title in five years while Italy has never won women's foremost team trophy.

For the second time in as many days, the second-ranked Henin-Hardenne fought from way back in the second set to avoid a risky three-setter. On Sunday, she won six of the last seven games against the choking Schiavone, who could not seem to deal with pressure and the cheers of the 6,000 fans around the indoor hardcourt of the Spiroudome.

The Belgian needed constant treatment on her right knee for a chronic injury and knew she would not have lasted another set.