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'Comeback queen' Henin beats Petrova to reach Australian Open semi-finals

Posted By: Staff

Melbourne, Jan 26(ANI): Belgian Justine Henin continued her stunning comeback, as she powered into the Australian Open semi-finals after defeating Russian Nadia Petrova 7-6 (7-3) 7-5 in their quarter-final match.

Henin's win made her just the third women's wildcard to reach the semi-final of any grand slam after Jie Zheng at Wimbledon in 2008 and Kim Clijsters at last year's US Open (which she won).

She had struggled through long matches in her last three rounds, defying her aching body and an injured left thigh to reach the last eight, and there was little between her and Petrova as they went shot for shot.

Henin took the early advantage when she broke in the fifth game, seizing on three double faults to go ahead 3-2.

Petrova broke back three games later, but promptly lost her serve, leaving Henin to serve for the first set.

"It was difficult to find the energy, but I was happy the way I came back in the second set by playing much more aggressive tennis," Fox Sports quoted Henin, as saying.

The second set featured service breaks by both players as Petrova rushed to a 3-0 lead before Henin whittled it back to level the scores then take it out.

"I saw my opportunity - I didn't want it to go to a tiebreak. I wanted to close out the match and stay in the tournament so I just went for it," she said.

A seven-time Grand Slam winner, Henin retired in May 2008 while ranked number one, saying she was burnt out.

However, the 27-year-old decided to return to tennis after seeing Clijsters win the US Open last year, and she has more than justified the faith of Australian Open organizers who handed her a wildcard the tournament.

She now faces the Zheng, who beat unseeded Russian Maria Kirilenko 6-1, 6-3. (ANI)

Story first published: Tuesday, January 26, 2010, 14:59 [IST]
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