Justine Henin lost early on her favorite surface. The world number one was defeated by Dinara Safina, ranked 17th, in the Qatar Telecom German Open third round. Final score: 5-7 6-3 6-1.
A three-times winner in Berlin and four-times French Open champion, Henin suffered her first loss on clay since losing to Svetlana Kuznetsova in the Berlin semifinals last year.
This defeat also means that Henin didn’t start her clay season and French Open defense as she had planned.
“This week was important, not only in terms of the French Open, but also in terms of getting some confidence back,” said the Belgian.
“I will take a few days off, focus on Rome and we will see what happens now in the next few weeks.”
Henin has won all five previous meetings against Safina, but this time she had problems with her serve and was broken eight times.