Sun, Sep 28, 2003 - Page 23 News List

Henin-Hardenne battles to win with a bad shoulder


US Open champion Justine Henin-Hardenne overcame shoulder troubles Friday to sweep past Countrywoman Els Callens 6-2, 6-4 at the Sparkassen Cup.

Henin-Hardenne needed 64 minutes to reach to the semifinals, while world No. 1 Kim Clijsters also advanced 6-1, 6-3 against Switzerland's Patty Schnyder.

Henin-Hardenne, also fighting a bad back, had her right shoulder iced between games in her first tournament since winning the US Open three weeks ago.

"I felt something on a return. I will have to see tomorrow, but I'm sure it's alright," the world No. 2 said.

In her semifinal, Clijsters faces third-seeded Anastasia Myskina, who beat fellow Russian Nadia Petrova 6-7 (5), 6-1, 6-1. Henin-Hardenne plays qualifier Maria Vento-Kabchi, who advanced when Czech player Sandra Kleinova suffered a hamstring injury while leading 6-0, 3-1.

If both Belgian stars win Saturday, they will meet in their sixth final this year.

Henin-Hardenne has won four of those including the French and US Open titles. A victory Sunday in Leipzig would give her a chance to claim Clijsters' top ranking at the Filderstadt tournament, starting Oct. 6.

Clijsters said she looked forward to another all-Belgian final.

"We've played a lot of finals between us this year and it would be nice to do it again," Clijsters said. "It would be great for both of us."

Henin-Hardenne jumped to a 4-1 lead against Callens behind two breaks, then won when her fellow Belgian hit a forehand into the net.

Clijsters needed just 42 minutes to beat Schnyder 6-1, 6-3, racing through the first set in 15 minutes, then broke to 5-3 in the second.

She won the 2000 and 2001 Leipzig titles, but was bounced by world No. 10 Myskina in last year's semis.

"I like the situation I'm in tomorrow," she said. "I lost last year and now I can make it better."

If the 15th-ranked Petrova had beaten Myskina she would have moved into the Top 10. A year ago, the 21-year-old was No. 169.

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