August 25, 2006

Henin-Hardenne to meet Davenport in final

By Simon Cambers

NEW HAVEN, Connecticut (Reuters) - Second seed Justine
Henin-Hardenne set up an intriguing final against defending
champion Lindsay Davenport at the New Haven event after both
came through their semi-finals on Friday.

Belgian Henin-Hardenne, in her first event since Wimbledon,
hammered former U.S. Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3 6-3
in the late match.

The French Open champion was in top form as she crunched
winners from all parts of the court, cruising through to her
eighth final of the year.

Davenport, in only her second tournament back after five
months out through injury, edged out Australian Samantha Stosur
7-6 7-6 to avenge her defeat by the Australian in Los Angeles
two weeks ago.

After a rain delay of more than three hours, Davenport, who
beat world number one Amelie Mauresmo in the previous round,
let slip an early break in the first set but won the tiebreak

She missed five match points in the second set before
taking another tiebreak 9-7 when a Stosur return sailed just

"I'm ecstatic to be in the finals," Davenport said.

"I wouldn't have guessed that a few weeks ago, a few months
ago, let alone a few days ago. It's a huge accomplishment for


The match took more than two hours and Davenport admitted
she was starting to feel the effects of her efforts this week.

"I'm feeling fatigued," she said.

"I played more tennis this week than I have in six months.
It's an adjustment for my body. My shoulder was getting really
heavy - it wasn't hurt - but it just feels like everything is
being used more than it has been for quite a while."

Davenport has lost her past six meetings with

"I have lost to Justine a number of times in a row now. I'm
not quite sure how many, you probably don't even want to hear
the number," she said.

"It would be nice if I could change that tide sooner rather
than later. (But) she's a very tough opponent and she plays
very well against me. (In the Australian Open), I lost a pretty
tough three-set match to her."

In the men's event, Argentine 10th seed Agustin Calleri
advanced to the final when Belgian Xavier Malisse retired after
losing the first set.

He will play either second seed Nikolay Davydenko of Russia
or Swede Robin Soderling in Saturday's final.