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Henin, Mauresmo reach final

The world No. 1 reaches the final of the Eastbourne International tournament with a 6-1, 6-3 win over Marion Bartoli.

india Updated: Jun 22, 2007 19:45 IST

World number one Justine Henin reached the final of the Eastbourne International grasscourt tournament with a swift 6-1, 6-3 win over Marion Bartoli on Friday.

In Saturday's final, the Belgian will play world number four Amelie Mauresmo, last year's Wimbledon champion, who went through when her Russian semi-final opponent Nadia Petrova pulled out with injury after losing the first set 4-6.

Henin, Eastbourne defending champion and a favourite for Wimbledon which starts on Monday, was on Devonshire Park's Centre Court for barely an hour and made the victory look easy.

"It is perfect preparation for me," smiled Henin, who has won every grand slam title except Wimbledon, losing to Mauresmo in last year's final.

"My serve has been good in the last few days -- I hope it is going to be a weapon for me in the next two weeks."

Frenchwoman Bartoli, the eighth seed, has an unorthodox but impressive serve which she used to great effect in thrashing fourth seed Elena Dementieva on Thursday.

It failed to rescue her against Henin, however, and Bartoli lost the first three games in rapid succession.

She held for 3-1 but was broken again in the sixth game as Henin spurred herself on with cries of "Allez!"

Bartoli, the world number 20, produced a more solid serve at the start of the second set but put a forehand wide to allow Henin to go a break up for 4-3.

In the ninth game, Henin had two match points and though Bartoli saved the first with a service winner she hit another forehand error on the second.

Medical Treatment

Third seed Petrova had three bouts of medical treatment during Thursday's win over Sybille Bammer, for back and thigh problems, and emerged for her semi-final with her right thigh strapped.

Friday's problem was a pectoral muscle injury, she told reporters.

"I had a difficult time warming up," said Petrova, who has suffered the problem on several occasions this year. "I definitely should be okay for Wimbledon. I have two days. I will probably stay away from serving."

Second seed Mauresmo said she would have been glad to play a full match, to give her more time to work on her serve.

"Still some room to improve, I think," Mauresmo, who like Henin has not dropped a set here, told a news conference.

"Apart from my serve, which didn't work so well today, I am pretty happy about the rest of my game."

The Frenchwoman said she was looking forward to Saturday's final against Henin.

"It is a great opportunity to have another great match, to compare myself with the best player on the tour, see where I am right now and try and get another title under my belt," she said. "I am expecting a tough one."

First Published: Jun 22, 2007 19:23 IST