Ferocious Zheng into Australian Open semis | sports | Hindustan Times
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Ferocious Zheng into Australian Open semis

sports Updated: Jan 26, 2010 10:46 IST
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Unseeded Zheng Jie became the first Chinese player ever to make the Australian Open semi-finals when she beat Russia's Maria Kirilenko 6-1, 6-3 on Tuesday.

Zheng, who reached the same stage at Wimbledon in 2008, will now play Belgian wildcard Justine Henin for a place in Saturday's final.

"Henin for me is such a good player," Zheng said. "She's so strong mentally -- I just want to go out there and enjoy the match and play well."

By reaching the semis, the 26-year-old from Chengdu will also return to the top 20 for the first since June last year.

Zheng was always in control against the 23-year-old Kirilenko, who took to the court with her left thigh heavily bandaged and who called for a medical time out at the end of the first set.

She raced through the first set in just 34 minutes as she broke Kirilenko twice, her all court coverage and accurate groundstrokes proving too much for her opponent.

Kirilenko was obviously hampered by her leg injury and wasn't able to get any power behind her shots, making them easy pickings for the determined Zheng.