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02 Apr 2008 07:22
Champion Serena Williams made world number one Justine Henin look like a mere novice as she pulled off a stunning 6-2 6-0 victory to reach the semifinals of the Sony Ericsson Open on Tuesday.
Williams barely put a foot wrong and reeled off the last nine games to book a last-four date with either her sister Venus or third seed Svetlana Kuznetsova.
Serena, who is looking particularly fit at this tournament, joked about the last time she was in such good shape.
“[Not] since 1982,” the American, who was born in 1981, told reporters.
“I’m definitely way more fit than last year even at this tournament. I feel I’m moving better.”
Henin struggled with her second serve throughout the 79-minute contest and surrendered the match with a double fault.
“She just has been better every part of the game and I didn’t do enough to win and she has been consistent,” said the Belgian.
“I didn’t serve well enough, I didn’t take my opportunities enough and I felt she was on every ball.”
Tuesday’s victory also allowed Serena to avenge her three grand slam defeats by Henin last year.
The Belgian had beaten eighth-ranked Serena in the quarterfinals of the French Open, Wimbledon and US Open in 2007.
A grumpy Serena had proved to be a sore loser at Flushing Meadows, claming Henin had “made a lot of lucky shots” to win the contest.
Almost seven months on from that day, the American could not stop smiling.
“Everything worked well for me,” grinned Serena, who had also beaten Henin in the Miami final last year.
“I’m feeling better and I’ve keeping working hard.
Henin looked flat-footed as she faced a barrage of shot-making and powerful serving from Serena.
The seven-times grand slam champion also aided Serena by producing 32 errors in the match.
Realising that Henin could do little to change her own fortunes, Serena employed an attacking game plan and won 12 of 16 points at the net.
“She did a good job,” Henin said. “She’s very aggressive attacking the ball, and I think she did what she had to do and I didn’t do what I had to do, so that makes a big difference at the end.” - Reuters
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