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Henin-Hardenne brushes aside Kuznetsova

Third seed Justine Henin-Hardenne made light work of Russian teenager Svetlana Kuznetsova at Wimbledon on Tuesday.
PTI | By Agence France-Presse, London
PUBLISHED ON JUL 02, 2003 12:28 AM IST

Third seed Justine Henin-Hardenne made light work of Russian teenager Svetlana Kuznetsova at Wimbledon on Tuesday, reaching the women's semi-finals with a straightforward 6-2, 6-2 win.

Henin-Hardenne, 21, becomes the second Belgian through to the last four of the women's event, joining Kim Clijsters, who defeated Italy's Silvia Farina Elia earlier in the day.

Henin now faces top seed Serena Williams in the semi-final, a re-match of their highly-charged semi at the French Open, which saw the Paris crowd boo the American to the extent that she left the court in tears after her defeat.

The French-speaking Belgian went on to clinch her first Grand Slam in an historic final against Clijsters - and with both players in separate semi-finals, the prospect of a second all-Belgian final in successive majors remains possible.

Kuznetsova, who only turned 18 on Friday and is appearing at her first Wimbledon, battled hard but was no match for Henin-Hardenne.

The pair traded viciously-hit baseline rallies, but the Russian made far more errors and had no answer to a string of winners unleashed by her rival.

Despite the minimal drama, there was no lack of passion from the diminutive Belgian, who clenched her fist and yelled "Allez!" ("Come on!") as a series of winners streaked past her opponent.

Even with her small frame, Henin-Hardenne is renowned as a serious walloper of the ball, and hit a string of serves that topped 110 miles (180 kilometres) per hour.

However, Kuznetsova will be pleased with her Wimbledon debut, the Barcelona-based Russian enjoying a run of matches which saw her dispatch compatriot Maria Sharapova in the fourth round.

Kuznetsova even looked like she might fight her way back into the match in the second set, threatening to break Henin-Hardenne's serve.

But with the wind getting increasingly blustery and the grey skies suggesting rain, the Belgian moved up another gear and wrapped up the set with ease.

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