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

MEN'S SINGLES

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.

WOMEN'S SINGLES

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.

MEN'S DOUBLES

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.

WOMEN'S DOUBLES

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.

MIXED DOUBLES

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.

GIRLS' RESULTS

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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014
peopleTim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
News
people
Life and Style
techApp to start sending headlines, TV clips and ads to your phone
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift crawls through the legs of twerking dancers in her 'Shake It Off' music video
musicEarl Sweatshirt thinks so
Life and Style
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment