DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - Defending champion Justin Henin-Hardenne beat Meghann Shaughnessy 6-4, 6-2 Friday in the semifinals of the Dubai Women’s Open, extending her record to 13-0 this year.
The top-ranked Belgian will play Russian teenager Svetlana Kuznetsova for the title Saturday. Kuznetsova upset fifth-seeded Ai Sugiyama of Japan 6-0, 7-5 in the other semifinal. Kuznetsova also will play in the doubles final with compatriot Elena Likhovtseva.
Henin-Hardenne, who came to Dubai following her Australian Open victory, had to work hard against Shaughnessy. She broke serve in the third and seventh games of the second set for the match.
“I’m feeling good at the net,” Henin-Hardenne said. “I know I have to go there more if I want to win Wimbledon one year. I have to push myself all the time to do that because sometimes I’m afraid of making a mistake or the passing shot.”
Kuznetsova, who beat Venus Williams in the quarterfinals, won the first set from Sugiyama in only 18 minutes, unleashing a barrage of forehand winners.
The 18-year-old Russian is ranked 29th but probably will jump into the top 20 next week. She has two WTA singles titles, but this will be her biggest final.
“I now feel more relaxed and am enjoying my tennis more,” she said. “I’m still not in the best shape and there are so many things I can work on.”
Hrbaty upsets Mirnyi at Open 13
Slovakia’s Dominik Hrbaty advanced to the Open 13 semifinals Friday, upsetting fourth-seeded Max Mirnyi of Belarus 6-3, 7-6 (10), and staying on course for his third ATP Tour title of the season.
Hrbaty will face Sweden’s Jonas Bjorkman, who beat Switzerland’s Marc Rosset 7-5, 6-3. Hrbaty has six career titles, including his wins in the Heineken Open and the AAPT Championships last month.
In another quarterfinal upset, Sweden’s Robin Soderling defeated fifth-seeded Fernando Gonzalez of Chile 7-6 (5), 6-3.
Soderling, a 19-year-old prospect, will face seventh-seeded Arnaud Clement of France. Clement, the only seeded player remaining, beat Spain’s Alberto Martin 6-3, 6-2.
Top-ranked Novak Djokovic wasted a chance to serve out the match and was beaten 2-6, 7-5, 6-4 by sixth-seeded Tomas Berdych in the Italian Open quarterfinals Friday.
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