Henin 'surprised' by semi spot

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The Independent Online

Justine Henin could be the Australian Open champion but will not even have a world ranking when an updated list is published on Monday. The 27-year-old Belgian, who returned to competition earlier this month after 20 months in retirement, is through to the semi-finals of the year's first Grand Slam but will remain unranked until she has played three tournaments.

"I never thought I would be in the semis," Henin said yesterday after beating Nadia Petrova 7-6, 7-5 to earn her place in the last four. "I was curious about what was going to happen. I knew it was going to be hard. Every match was a goal. Now I can dream of being in the final of this Grand Slam, though of course it's still a long way away."

Henin had to work hard for her victory, with her willingness to attack the net and trust in her volleys a crucial factor. She now plays China's Zheng Jie, who beat Maria Kirilenko 6-1, 6-3 to reach a Grand Slam semi-final for the second time following her success at Wimbledon in 2008.

Laura Robson recovered from a poor second set to beat Russia's Yulia Putintseva 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 in the second round of the junior singles. The 2008 junior Wimbledon champion was due to meet Romania's Cristina Dinu in the third round this morning, while tonight she is scheduled to appear in the final match in the Rod Laver Arena, the main show court. Robson and Australia's Sally Peers face Kirilenko and Agnieszka Radwanska in the quarter-finals of the women's doubles.

Oliver Golding reached the third round in the boys' singles thanks to a 6-7, 6-3, 6-4 victory over Ireland's Sam Barry. He was due to meet James Duckworth, an Australian wild card, in the third round.