Henin, Sharapova open with wins in Madrid

MADRID, Nov. 6 (UPI) -- World No. 1 Justin Henin and former top-ranked Maria Sharapova were winners Tuesday in the first round of the $3 million Sony Ericsson Championships.

The eight-player event is the final tournament of the 2007 WTA Tour season.


The top-seeded Henin defeated seventh-seeded Chakvetadze 6-1, 7-6 (7-4) in 1 hour, 22 minutes. Chakvetadze, a U.S. Open semifinalist, committed 30 unforced errors.

Henin, a Belgian who is the defending champion, beat France's Amelie Mauresmo in last year's finale.

Henin has already clinched the year-end top ranking for a second straight season and for the third time in five years. The seven-time major titlist won this year's U.S. and French Open titles and is on a 21-match overall winning streak.

Sixth-seeded Sharapova defeated eighth-seeded Slovakian Daniela Hantuchova 6-4, 7-5. Hantuchova joined the draw here in place of ailing Wimbledon champion Venus Williams.

Tuesday's nightcap had second-seeded Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova playing fourth-seeded Serb Ana Ivanovic.

The 2007 Champion will collect $1 million.

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