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Henin-Hardenne wins Olympic gold


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Henin-Hardenne has spent most of the year battling a virus
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Amelie Mauresmo
Olympics 2004
Justine Henin-Hardenne

ATHENS, Greece -- Justine Henin-Hardenne completed a remarkable comeback from illness when she blasted her way to Olympic gold, beating Amelie Mauresmo 6-3 6-3 in a clash of the world's top two players

The world number one broke a jittery Mauresmo twice to take the opening set and the Frenchwoman failed to get a foot-hold in the second set.

The 22-year-old Belgian has spent most of the year battling a debilitating virus and had played just two matches in four months before coming to Athens.

Reaching the final included a three-hour epic against French Open champion Anastasia Myskina of Russia on Friday night when she fought back to win after trailing 5-1 in the final set.

Henin-Hardenne won the French Open and US Open in 2003 and the Australian Open at the start of this year.

But she did not play for six weeks prior to this year's French Open because of a virus, similar to glandular fever.

Henin-Hardenne's victory marks the first gold medal for Belgium at the Athens Games.

Alicia Molik of Australia took bronze by beating Russia's Anastasia Myskina 6-3 6-4 .

Nicolas Massu and Fernando Gonzalez won Chile their first gold medal at an Olympic Games in a five-set tennis men's doubles marathon.

The Chileans outlasted Germany's Nicolas Kiefer and Rainer Schuettler 6-2 4-6 3-6 7-6 6-4 after three hours 43 minutes on court.

For Gonzalez the victory was something of a superhuman feat.

He had already spent three hours 25 minutes on court earlier in the day beating Taylor Dent (U.S.) for the bronze medal in the men's singles.

After a total of seven hours eight minutes on court he sank to the ground after the German team sent the ball long beyond the baseline to hand the Chileans victory.

The Chileans could double their gold medal haul on Sunday when Massu faces America's Mardy Fish in Sunday's single's gold medal match.


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