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Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Maria Beats Henin to Seal Semi Spot

Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova squandered three match points before posting a 6-1 6-7 6-8) 6-2 victory over former world number one Justine Henin-Hardenne to advance to the semi-finals of the WTA tournament at Key Biscayne in Florida. Maria appeared to be cruising into the final four when she led the 22-year-old Belgian 6-1 4-1

Maria Sharapova

But Henin, playing in her first tournament of the year after a lengthy battle with illness was followed by a knee injury in January, dug deep. Maria served for the match at 5-4 in the second and led 40-0. But Henin forced the game to deuce and broke for 5-5 when the Russian double-faulted on break point. At that point, Maria Sharapova said, "You just keep fighting, keep being postive. "It's all mental. I was playing well until then, why can't I play well again?" Henin had a chance to claim the set in the 12th game, failing to convert four set points before finally levelling the match in the tiebreaker on her sixth opportunity. Maria dominated in the third, racing to a 3-0 lead and breaking Henin in the final game to wrap up the match after 2hr 17min. "I think we were both tired in the third," said Henin, who was nonetheless delighted with her effort after so long off the court.


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