Elite Eight Gear Up For Madrid
MADRID, Spain - Justine Henin has been the standout player on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour in 2007, playing some truly magical tennis and firmly establishing herself as the world No.1 in the process. The peerless Belgian has captured a Tour-leading nine trophies since the turn of the year, including championship runs at the US Open and Roland Garros, and arrives in Madrid riding high on a 20-match win streak.
After missing the start of the season with personal problems, Henin returned to action with a semifinal run at the Paris Indoors before embarking on a 13 match win-streak bringing tournament victories in Dubai and Doha which was eventually brought to an end by Serena Williams in the final of Miami. She has suffered just two defeats since, a run which has seen title triumphs on all four surfaces (carpet, clay, grass and hard) and victories over all of her closest rivals.
Henin will be appearing in the Sony Ericsson Championships for the fifth time in her illustrious career and as defending champion she will be eager to put on a good showing for the spectators in the Spanish capital. Prior to last year's title run the 25-year-old had never been beyond the semifinal stage of the season-ending showpiece, but after enjoying such a fantastic season she will be highly confident of retaining her trophy a week on Sunday.
"I've such excellent memories of playing in Madrid last year and winning the Sony Ericsson Championships," Henin said. "The title meant a lot to me as I hadn't played since the US Open and was unsure of how I would do, yet I wound up beating the Top 2 players Mauresmo and Sharapova to finish the year No.1. I am proud of the fact that for the second year in a row, I am the first to qualify and can't wait to go back and experience the special atmosphere."
Race to the Sony Ericsson Championships standing: No.1
2007 Win-Loss Record: 58-4
2007 Highlights: Won (9): Roland Garros, US Open, Dubai, Doha, Warsaw, Eastbourne, Toronto, Stuttgart, Zürich; R-Up (1): Miami; SF (3): Paris [indoors], Berlin, Wimbledon
Championships history: Fifth appearance at this event (seventh time to qualify); captured the title once, in 2006 (d. Petrova, Hingis and Sharapova en route to final; d. then-No.1 Mauresmo); in 2003 fell at semifinal stage; despite qualifying, did not compete in 2004 (cytomegalovirus) and 2005 (right hamstring strain)