World number one Justine Henin's unbeaten run of 17 matches at the Dubai Open came to an end as she went down to a 7-6 (7/3), 7-6 (7/4) quarter-final defeat to Francesca Schiavone.
Henin had never lost in seven previous matches to Schiavone but despite having a point to break serve early on and making a brave late revival yesterday, she was too inconsistent to deny her aggressive, in-form Italian.
Partly this was Henin's determined policy to take more risks to develop her attacking game, in the interests of her long-term physical well-being.
Henin had said she hoped, after making an escape from trouble on Wednesday against Katarina Srebotnik, that this would be another new beginning for her.
Last year she won the Dubai Open after separating from her husband and went on to win nine other titles, and now she is trying to recover from a knee problem and emotionally tiring family rapprochements.
"She played well but I didn't take my opportunities," said Henin.
"I was not brave enough and she really took her chances and she was better than me.
"I didn't go for winners enough. I had my chances to come back in the second set but I was too short."
Henin agreed that her long late match against Srebotnik the night before had tired her, but insisted that this was not an excuse.
"When I came back I didn't do enough to win and especially in the tie-break I didn't do enough.