Henin-Hardenne crushes Mauresmo in Berlin | india | Hindustan Times
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Henin-Hardenne crushes Mauresmo in Berlin

French Open champion Henin-Hardenne humbled world number one Mauresmo, winning 6-1, 6-2 to set up a final with in-form Russian Nadia Petrova.

india Updated: May 13, 2006 21:48 IST

French Open champion Justine Henin-Hardenne humbled world number one Amelie Mauresmo at the German Open on Saturday, winning 6-1, 6-2 to set up a final with in-form Russian Nadia Petrova.

The Belgian defending champion was in blistering form on the clay at the Steffi Graf stadium, avenging her loss to Mauresmo in the Australian Open final this year when she had to retire early in the second set with stomach pains.

"I played almost my best level today," Henin-Hardenne said. "In the rallies I could find a good mix of putting a lot of pressure on her and then the patience, and it really paid off. I am really satisfied with the way I played."

With Saturday's victory, the 23-year-old from Liege improved her win-loss record in Berlin to 24-1 and appears to be hitting top form in time to defend her Roland Garros title in Paris from the end of this month.

The four-time grand slam winner plays second seed Petrova on Sunday in a repeat of last year's final and holds a commanding 8-1 head-to-head record over the world number four from Moscow.

"She's one of the best players on clay so it's going to be tough for me," Henin-Hardenne said. "She's really the player with the confidence right now."

FADING LIGHT

Mauresmo had earlier ended the hopes of Swiss former world number one Martina Hingis, winning the delayed deciding set of their quarter-final for a 4-6 6-4 6-4 victory.

Fading light late on Friday had forced the pair to abandon the match at one set all and the powerful Frenchwoman looked short of energy for the later semi-final clash with Henin-Hardenne.

"It's never the best scheduling but that's the way it was and you have to adjust to that," Mauresmo said.

"Some players would say she should not get the credit because I was tired but I wouldn't take that option. I think she played some great tennis whatever my schedule was."

Hingis made the stronger start when the quarter-final resumed, breaking in the first and third games for a 3-0 lead as Mauresmo had trouble finding her range.

The Swiss looked well placed at 4-2 but Mauresmo, the winner here in 2001 and 2004, broke back twice and sealed victory with a third service break on her first match point.

"I think I was a bit asleep in the first three games, there were a lot of mistakes and my legs weren't working too well," Mauresmo said.

"Then I started to wake up and got back into the match and was playing with much more intensity and consistency."

Hingis, who won in Berlin in 1999, returned to the professional tennis circuit earlier this year after injury and burnout forced her out of the game for three years.

She has since climbed the world rankings to 23 with a string of impressive performances, including reaching the final in Tokyo and the quarter-finals at the Australian Open, where she was champion in 1997, 1998 and 1999.

Hingis said her performance against Mauresmo was the best she had produced since her return to tennis.

"Today when I started off I really felt like the game plan was there," she said. "But in situations where I should have been more aggressive I was just more tentative."

Hingis plays in Rome next week, her last tournament before the French Open, the only grand slam to elude her.

Asked whether she considered herself one of the favourites for Roland Garros, Hingis said: "Not the favourite. A good horse running in the draw."

In the other semi-final on Saturday, Petrova thrashed unseeded Chinese Li Na 6-1 6-0 in a rain-affected match.