Mon, Aug 20, 2007 - Page 18 News List

Yan's dream run comes to an end at hands of Henin

SUPER QUALIFIER China's Yan Zi is the lowest-ranked player ever to reach the semi-finals of the Rogers Cup but a place in the final proved to be beyond her

AP , TORONTO

Justine Henin will play for her sixth title of the season after dispatching Chinese qualifier Yan Zi 6-3, 6-0, in the semi-finals of the Rogers Cup on Saturday.

Henin was due to face Jelena Jankovic of Serbia, who defeated Tatiana Golovin of France 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 in the other semi-final.

The Belgian has won all six of her matches against Jankovic, the most recent being a victory in the French Open semi-finals.

Henin made short work of the unheralded Yan, who was an unlikely star of the Rogers Cup in becoming the first qualifier in 11 years -- and lowest ranked ever at 169th -- to reach the semi-finals.

The 22-year-old from China hung in against the top seed for the first half of the opening set before Henin won the final nine games to secure a spot in the final.

Henin's powerful serve and strong groundstrokes were too much for Yan, who entered the qualifying draw as a replacement for the injured Maria Sharapova and went on to eliminate defending champ Ana Ivanovic of Serbia and Wimbledon finalist Marion Bartoli of France along the way.

Yan tried to keep the pressure on Henin early. At times, she worked the Belgian from corner to corner on the baseline and mixed in some backhand slices to keep her off-balance. The technique was effective in the first few games with Yan breaking Henin's serve to pull even at 3-3.

"It takes a little bit of time to get used to her game," Henin said. "She was using her forehand a lot. It's for sure her best shot. I just had to move her a lot and then change directions and be very aggressive. It took me a few games to understand that."

Henin also took advantage of several unforced errors and wrapped up the victory in 71 minutes.

"First set, maybe she don't know how I play, so I hit many good shots," Yan said. "But after the first set, I think she knows how I play, so she's coming faster and coming to the net ... giving me more pressure."

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