Henin-Hardenne fights past Davenport

Justine Henin-Hardenne only came to Australia to regain her confidence after an injury-plagued eight months. But she won the Sydney warm-up tournament, and has now reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open at Melbourne Park after knocking out the No 1 seed Lindsay Davenport yesterday.

The Belgian No 8 seed, who will play Maria Sharapova tomorrow, recovered from an abysmal first set during which she did not once hold serve. In the second and third sets she "just kept fighting and played every point 100 per cent", extracting a 2-6, 6-2, 6-3 victory in 1 hour 57 minutes.

Before coming to Australia, the 23-year-old Henin-Hardenne, a four-times Grand Slam champion, had barely competed since winning the French Open last year. "Just to be in the semis here is amazing after such a long time off injured, so I'm very pleased, very happy," she said.

Davenport, who has not won a major since 2000 and nearly retired 18 months ago, insisted that she was not demoralised. "I feel like I'm on a good path, and while things didn't pan out here, I'm not giving up," said the 29-year-old American, whose defeat will probably cost her the No 1 ranking. "Seeing some players and what they've been able to accomplish a little bit later in their careers has helped me. I couldn't see my life right now without it [tennis]. So I'll keep trying to improve and stay on top."

Sharapova, meanwhile, is keen to add another Grand Slam to her 2004 Wimbledon title. The Russian No 4 seed beat her compatriot Nadia Petrova 7-6, 6-4 in a quarter-final distinguished by poor form on both sides. Petrova, the No 6 seed, tried twice to serve out the first set, then failed to convert two set points in the tie-break, serving a double-fault at 6-7 to give away the set.

Sharapova, whose serve was broken four times, produced 36 unforced errors and eight double-faults. A frustrated Petrova, who berated herself constantly during the match, had 49 errors and 12 double-faults.

Sharapova will need to step up her game against Henin-Hardenne, who predicted that the semi-final would be a "tough match".

"She's a great fighter, she's confident and she wants to get to the final," the Belgian said of her Russian opponent, whose sponsorship deals have made her the world's highest earning sportswoman.

In the men's draw, Marcos Baghdatis, who ousted the second seed Andy Roddick in the fourth round, will contest his first Grand Slam semi-final after toppling his third seed of the tournament, the seventh-ranked Ivan Ljubicic, in a thrilling five-set match that ended at 1.15am local time.

The unseeded Cypriot, whose crowd-pleasing game and engaging manner have won him a cult following in Melbourne, dominated in the first two sets but then faltered, allowing the Croatian to level at two sets apiece. With both men playing in the quarter-finals of a major for the first time, each produced sensational tennis, particularly during the final set. But Baghdatis had the edge in the decider, breaking Ljubicic for a 3-1 lead and serving out a 6-4, 6-2, 4-6, 3-6, 6-3 victory.

The 18-year-old Cypriot, who won the Australian Open junior title in 2003, said that everything went well until he started thinking too much. "I was putting some doubts in my head ... he started to serve well, got some confidence, it was going so fast I couldn't control the game," he said. "In the fifth set I said to myself, 'Play for every point', and that's what I did."

In the semi-finals Baghdatis will meet the Argentinian No 4 seed David Nalbandian, who demolished France's Fabrice Santoro 7-6, 6-0, 6-0 yesterday.

Australian Open Results


Quarter-finals: D NALBANDIAN (Arg) bt F Santoro (Fr) 7-5 6-0 6-0; M Baghdatis (Cyp) bt I LJUBICIC (Croa) 6-4 6-2 4-6 3-6 6-3.


Quarter-finals: J HENIN-HARDENNE (Bel) bt L DAVENPORT (US) 2-6 6-2 6-3; M SHARAPOVA (Rus) bt N PETROVA (Rus) 7-6 6-4.


Quarter-finals: M Fyrstenberg and M Matkowski (Pol) bt A Fisher (Aus) and J Gimelstob (US) 6-2 3-6 6-3; M DAMM (Cz Rep) and L PAES (Ind) bt J BJORKMAN (Swe) and M MIRNYI (Bela) 3-6 6-3 6-4.


Quarter-finals: L RAYMOND (US) and S STOSUR (Aus) bt G DULKO (Arg) and M KIRILENKO (Rus) 6-3 6-2; A-L GRONEFELD (Ger) and M SHAUGHNESSY (US) bt E LIKHOVTSEVA and V ZVONAREVA (Rus) 6-3 6-3; ZI YAN and JIE ZHENG (Ch) bt V RUANO PASCUAL (Sp) and P SUAREZ (Arg) 4-6 7-5 6-1; S ASAGOE (Japan) and K SREBOTNIK (Sloven) bt C BLACK (Zim) and R STUBBS (Aus) 6-3 4-6 6-0.


Second round: L Paes (Ind) and N Dechy (Fr) bt S Aspelin (Swe) and M Shaughnessy (US) 6-3 7-6; F Cermak (Cz Rep) and A-L Gronefeld (Ger) bt A Ram (Isr) and L Huber (SA) 6-2 6-3; B BRYAN (US) and V ZVONAREVA (Rus) bt L Friedl and L Safarova (Cz Rep) 6-2 6-1; D NESTOR (Can) and E LIKHOVTSEVA (Rus) bt N Djokovic and A Ivanovic (Serb-M) 3-6 6-1 7-6; P HANLEY and S STOSUR (Aus) bt J Thomas (US) and B Stewart (Aus) 6-4 6-3; T PERRY and R STUBBS (Aus) bt W ARTHURS (Aus) and A SUGIYAMA (Japan) 6-4 7-5; M Bhupathi (Ind) and M Hingis (Swit) bt J BJORKMAN (Swe) and L RAYMOND (US) 7-5 6-7 7-6.


Singles, first round: Selected: C WOZNIACKI (Den) bt J Curtis (GB) 6-2 6-2. Doubles, selected: M Brengle and K Frilling (US) bt J Curtis (GB) and E Nze (US) 7-5 6-3.

* seeded players in CAPITALS.


Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Tour de France 2015: Twins Simon and Adam Yates have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Twins have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Yates brothers will target the steepest sections in bid to win a stage in France
John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life