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Henin heads field at Toronto

sports Updated: Aug 14, 2007 11:48 IST
AFP
Henin heads field at Toronto WTA tournament

World number one Justine Henin begins her preparations for the US Open this week as the top seed at the 1.34 million-dollar Rogers Cup hardcourt tournament.

The Belgian has been out of action since falling in the semifinals to Marion Bartoli of France at Wimbledon in early in July.

Despite her surprising loss at the All England Club, Henin has enjoyed a huge year, with her five titles including a sixth career Grand Slam singles crown at Roland Garros.

Henin has enjoyed success on the Toronto hardcourts, winning the title in 2003 and finishing as runner-up to compatriot Kim Clijsters in her last appearance here two years ago.

In two weeks, Henin will open her quest to win the US Open - the year's final Grand Slam - for a second time in her career.

Henin was one of the top eight seeds who received a bye into the second round of this 1.34 million-dollar tournament.

With world number two Maria Sharapova sitting out this week, preferring to rest up for her US Open title defence, the second seed is Serbian Jelena Jankovic. Jankovic, who has captured four titles this year to climb to number three in the rankings, withdrew in the fourth round here last year with right shoulder tendinitis.

Also making her first appearance since Wimbledon is third-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova. The Russian, who was beaten by eventual champion Venus Williams at the All England Club, has failed to make it past the third round in three tries in Toronto.

The fourth seed is defending champion Ana Ivanovic, who enters after winning the 600,000-dollar hardcourt tournament in Los Angeles on Sunday.

The 19-year-old Serbian, who improved one spot to a career best number four in the rankings released on Monday, also reached the final at Roland Garros and semis at Wimbledon.

Making her mark on American hardcourts this summer with titles at Cincinnati and Stanford, Anna Chakvetadze is seeded fifth.

The sixth seed is Russian Nadia Petrova, runner-up to Ivanovic in Los Angeles.

France's Bartoli, who has made it out of the first round in just one of three tournaments since her surprising run to the Wimbledon final, is seeded seventh. The final seed to receive a first-round bye was No. 8 Elena Dementieva of Russia.

The highest seed in action Monday was No. 9 Dinara Safina of Russia, who scraped a 7-6 (11/9), 3-6, 7-5 victory over France's Camille Pin.

After losing to Sharapova in the final at San Diego two weeks ago, Switzerland's Patty Schnyder returned to her winning ways with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Anabel Medina Garrigues of Spain.

Shahar Peer of Israel advanced to the second round with a hard-fought 7-5, 7-6 (9/7) triumph over Michaella Krajicek of the Netherlands.