MELBOURNE, Jan 28 (AFP): France's Amelie Mauresmo won the Australian Open to snare her first Grand Slam title Saturday, but it came in anti-climactic fashion when Justine Henin-Hardenne retired sick.
The victory, which came when the scores were 6-1, 2-0 in Mauresmo's favour, makes up for the world number three's devastating loss in the 1999 final, when she was thrashed by Martina Hingis.
The third seed was totally dominating an out-of-sorts Henin-Hardenne before the four-time Grand Slam winner pulled out 52 minutes into what had been one of the most lopsided finals in the tournament's recent history.
She acknowledged it was a bizarre way to win but was simply overjoyed to secure the career breakthrough, which overshadows the label of Grand Slam choker that has haunted her since she loss in 1999 as a nervous teenager.
French Open champion Henin-Hardenne, seeded eight, called for a trainer when the score was 2-0 in the second set, holding her hand to her head.
The 2004 Australian Open champion tried to continue but told the umpire she could not go on and slumped into a seat, a towel draped across her head to hide her tears.