Sun, Oct 07, 2007 - Page 23 News List

Williams exits at Stuttgart, Henin advances to semis


Belgium's Justine Henin returns a shot to Russia's Elena Dementieva in their quarter-final match at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, Germany, on Friday. Henin won in two sets.


Serena Williams was left bemused by her exit from the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix on Friday while world No. 1 Justine Henin was pleased with her performance to reach the last four.

Sixth-seed Williams suffered a first defeat to Sveltlana Kuznetsova when the Russian second-seed won their quarter-final clash 6-3, 6-3 on Friday evening.

"I don't quite know went wrong out there, I was spraying balls all over the place and just couldn't find my rhythm," said Williams, who had her service broken at the start of the second set and never recovered.

"I made so many unforced errors -- it just wasn't my day," she said.

Kuznetsova, who had lost both her previous 2004 meetings with Williams, was to play against France's Tatiana Golovin in yesterday's semi-final.

"I am looking forward to playing Tatiana," Kuznetsova said.

"She beat me earlier in the year in Toronto when I was coming back from a break and I want revenge," she said.

Earlier in the evening, Belgian favorite Henin was again convincing as she experienced few problems in her straight-sets win over Elena Dementieva.

The Russian had a rare chance when she broke Henin late in the the second set, only for Henin to break back and claim a 6-4, 6-4 win.

"I was happy with the way the game went," Henin said.

"She is a real fighter and if you give her anything, she always takes a lot," Henin said.

"I served well and although I lost a bit of intensity in the second set, it was a good win," she said.

Henin was scheduled to face Jelena Jankovic in yesterday's semi-final after the Serbian's opponent, defending champion Nadia Petrova, limped out of her quarter-final as her hip injury from the US Open flared up and forced her to retire.

"It will be a tough game against Jelena," Henin said.

"She is always hard to beat and the last time we played was in the final at Toronto when she gave nothing away -- I can expect the same again," Henin said.

In seven meetings -- five of them this year -- the Serb has never beaten Henin.

"It would be great to beat her, just once," Jankovic said.

But Petrova was disappointed to bow out and miss her chance to face Henin yesterday after she conceded defeat to Jankovic despite winning the first set in what had been a fierce battle before injury struck.

"It is really disappointing," Petrova said.

"I came here hoping to do well," she said. "The surface suits my game, but the hip injury I picked up in the US Open hasn't healed 100 percent."

"Although I could play in the first two games here, this was up another level and I couldn't fight through the pain barrier," she said.

"I don't know how much more tennis I can play now this season," she said.

After the battle royal first set was decided on tie-break 7-5, Jankovic raced out to a 5-1 second set lead before the Russian waved the white flag.

Earlier in the day, last year's beaten finalist Golovin was pleased to be back in the last four after her straight sets win over qualifier Kateryna Bondarenko.

The Russian-born 19-year-old needed less than 80 minutes to see off Bondarenko.

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