Sania to open against formidable Henin

BANGALORE, January 16 (Agencies): Sania Mirza blasted her way into the main draw of the Australian Open on Sunday, but has come up against the mountain in former world No. 1 Justine Henin of Belgium.
The 24-year-old Indian, however, has nothing to lose against the seven-time Grand Slam champion in Monday's show court engagement and will go out swinging.
Sania, who has played most of the top guns on the women's Tour, hasn't faced the crafty 28-year-old before. "I couldn't have imagined a tougher opponent than Justine in the main draw," Sania said. "She is a great player, has huge experience, she is one of the greats of the game. I have nothing to lose. I'll go out there and enjoy the match. I'm looking forward to playing her."
The Hyderabadi's match against the 11th seed has been posted at the Hisense Arena, the fourth match after the 5.30am (IST) start. India No. 1 Somdev Devvarman, playing Spain's Tommy Robredo in the first round, is also on the opening day's schedule. His is the third match on Court No. 7.
On Sunday, Sania, ranked 145, put up her best performance of the qualifying competition to stop Canada's Stephanie Dubois 6-2, 6-3 in 73 minutes.
"I had never beaten Dubois before," Sania said. "She has beaten me in the juniors and I even lost to her a year ago in the final in Vancouver. It felt good to turn the tables on her in a crucial match. Grand Slams are special and it is wonderful to be playing in my seventh straight singles main draw at the Australian Open. I had three tough matches in the last three days in gruelling heat, it is energy draining, but working my way into the main draw has given me a lot of confidence for this tournament and for the season."
Sania's father Imran, who is in Melbourne along with her Canadian coach Rob Steckley and trainer Anand, said: " Tennis is a funny game and every day is a new day. Sania struggled with timing in her second qualifying match against Vitalia Diatchenko, but today in the final qualifying round against Dubois she seemed to have found her range, striking the ball powerfully off both the flanks. Sania is a rhythm player and on her day, when she's on song, she can trouble the best."