Henin-Hardenne has Serena in her sights again

JUSTINE HENIN-HARDENNE dismissed the prospect of a grand slam grudge match after storming into the Wimbledon semi-finals for the third consecutive year yesterday.

Henin-Hardenne insists that last month's French Open furore will be forgotten when she comes face-to-face with Serena Williams again in tomorrow's last-four clash.

Henin-Hardenne, who beat Russian teenager Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-2 6-2, said: "I think we're professional enough. We just talked to each other for one minute in the locker room. I think it's better like this if we can have this kind of relationship."

Henin-Hardenne added: "I think this is going to be a different match but I know Serena is going to be very motivated and she will play a good match. Her power is very hard for me on grass and it will probably be more difficult than the French Open."

Henin-Hardenne used her match against debutante Kuznetsova to practice being more aggressive in preparation for her scheduled showdown with Williams. The result was an impressive performance in which her trademark searing backhands labelled by John McEnroe as the best men's or women's shot in tennis made the difference again.

Henin-Hardenne's target is to repeat the Williams achievement of last year in securing back-to-back grand slams in Paris and London.

Serena Williams unpacked the most lethal weapon in women's tennis to keep alive the prospect of another all-Williams Wimbledon final. The younger member of sport's most famous sister act pounded down two serves of 115mph and a good deal more which measured over the ton to defeat fellow American Jennifer Capriati 2-6 6-2 6-3 in the most exciting and enterprising match of the women's tournament so far.

"The way I played today I didn't think anybody could beat me," said Capriati. "It was the way she served. A couple of serves of 115mph, nobody else could do that.

"If she plays and serves like that it will be pretty hard for anybody to beat her. I'm disappointed but not upset. I played well, gave it my best but that's why she's number one," she said.

For Capriati it was her eighth straight defeat at the hands of the younger Williams sister but there was no disgrace in the way she performed, especially in one second set rally which contained 28 strokes, including a stunning winning drop volley by Williams.

Venus Williams reckons she is back in the best form of her life after a miserable year. And the two-time Wimbledon champion, who has had to accept at best second best behind younger sister Serena over the last 12 months, insists she needs no artificial boost to regain her dominance of the women's game.

Venus moved her quality level up an extra notch to quell a comeback from another former champion Lindsay Davenport, winning a Centre Court quarter-final thriller 6-2 2-6 6-1.

Then she brushed off suggestions she is the girl on top again thanks to the food supplement creatine.

"I'm not sure what the other players are doing but I don't use creatine," said the 23-year-old. "You are really careful these days. If someone mixes a 'smoothie' for you at the places where they are mixing 'smoothies' then I stay away from all that."

Creatine is a meat-extract designed to build stamina but Williams, a solid 6ft 1ins, is nowhere near as bulked up as her sibling nor even the naturally hefty Davenport.

Kim Clijsters survived a bee sting and the loss of her first set of the championships to reach her first Wimbledon semi. The 20-year-old Belgian recovered from the insect attack to beat outsider Silvia Farina Elia 5-7 6-0 6-1 in a bizarre quarter-final and will take on Venus Williams tomorrow.

More in this section


Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox

Execution Time: 0.199 s