BERLIN (AP) -Even after another painful loss Thursday at the German Open, Justine Henin's rivals still think the Belgian can pull it together to win a fifth French Open next month.
Dinara Safina said the world No. 1 can bounce back after she beat Henin 5-7, 6-3, 6-1. Serena Williams had a similar view after her 6-3, 6-1 rout of Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska extended her streak to 17 matches.
"Henin's such a great winner," said Williams, who reached the quarterfinals. "She can play a lot better. She knows that, and she can take solace in that fact."
Williams handed Henin the worst loss for a No. 1 player in nine years last month at the Sony Ericsson, 6-2, 6-0. That came after the Belgian was knocked out of the Australian Open in January by in another hard loss, 6-4, 6-0, to Maria Sharapova..
Some now wonder if the game has changed too much for Henin, even on her favorite surface.
"Henin has mastered clay, but I think the game is getting more powerful, like Serena is playing," said Ivanovic, the world No. 2 who advanced against Sybille Bmmer, 7-5, 4-6, 6-4.
After the Williams loss, Henin took a month off to nurse a knee injury and refocus on tennis. She returned to play an event she has captured three times, twice ahead of a French Open title in June.
"If I going to get my confidence back, then it has to be here," Henin said.
But the Belgian never shook off her tentativeness against Safina, the 17th-ranked Russian who hadn't taken a set against her in five previous matches. After 2 hours-w, 34 minutes, Henin missed the line with a hard forehand to end the match.
"The whole match I didn't have the intensity, I didn't have the consistency," Henin said. "It wasn't enough today. Now we have to see in the next few weeks."
Safina acknowledged that the rest of the players are aware Henin hasn't been the same since the Australian Open loss to Sharapova snapped a 32-match winning streak.
"I wasn't afraid to play her today. Going into the match, I had a feeling today I could win," Safina said.
Henin reminded Safina of her brother Marat Safin, the two-time Grand Slam winner who has slid out of the Top 10.