Henin Wins, Clijsters Loses in Warsaw

Posted on May 4, 2007

WARSAW, Poland - Justine Henin was one of four Sony Ericsson WTA Tour stars that secured a quarterfinal berth at the JS Cup on Thursday as second round action was completed at the $600,000, Tier II event, the biggest clay court event of 2007 thus far.

Henin, the top seed in the Polish capital, was a large cut above her first opponent of the week, taking down German Anna-Lena Groenefeld in two quick sets, 61 62. She was devastating on serve, facing only one break point and saving it; she was also lethal on the return, breaking her big-serving opponent a total of five times during the match. It was all over in one hour, seven minutes.

"She didn't give me a lot of rhythm but I tried to stay focused and do my job and stay positive, and I was happy with the result," said Henin, who won here in 2005. "My next match is tomorrow; hopefully I'll have more time to organize my game."

Next up is another non-seed, Mara Santangelo, who was responsible for No.6-seeded Nadia Petrova's departure the day before. The two women have met three times before, with Henin winning all three in straights; but their first meeting, in the fourth round of the 2004 Australian Open was a close one with Santangelo leading 4-2 in the second set before falling, 61 76(5). The Italian has also earned her first two Top 10 wins and cracked the Top 30 this season.

"She has improved a lot in the last year; she became a really consistent player," Henin said. "She has a strange game with special technique. She won't give me a lot of rhythm either. But it'll be another chance for me to start playing better."

Also lurking in Henin's half of the draw is No.4 seed Jelena Jankovic, who rallied back from a 3-0 second set deficit on Thursday to beat Elena Vesnina, 62 75, and book a spot in the quarterfinals opposite No.5 seed Anna Chakvetadze.

"I didn't really move that well and I was not hitting that cleanly, but I was trying my best and overall it was an okay match for my first one here," Jankovic said. "You can't always expect yourself to play your best tennis though; I hope to get better and better and just improve the level of my game with every match."

Chakvetadze leads the head-to-head against the higher-ranked Jankovic, 4-1.

"She's a tough competitor and likes to play here; it'll be a tough one," added the Serb. "I'm looking forward to it; I just hope I play better. I'll give it my best."

Williams, Vakulenko notch upsets to round out final eight field

Venus Williams and Julia Vakulenko were the last to grab berths in the quarters, ousting No.7 seed Elena Dementieva and No.2 seed Kim Clijsters, respectively.

Williams was the first to advance, cruising through in the first set and surviving a disastrous serving display in the second to beat an injury-returned Dementieva, 61 76(4). The players traded breaks four times en route to the tie-break, where Williams finally took control. The American had a chance to close it out serving 6-5, but squandered a match point and had to go into overtime to complete the win.

"There were a lot of breaks in the second set; that's not the way I'd like it to be but in the tie-break things went better," Williams said. "It was a tough one. In the second set she was improving her game, and I got caught behind the baseline. She played a lot of good shots at the right times. She's a good player on clay."

"I haven't played such a good player in a long time; she was so powerful, and so it was tough to get into the match in the start," Dementieva said. "It was the first real test since I came back. I wish I could play more matches here but I just had a tough draw. Even though I lost early, I feel I had a good week."

Vakulenko pulled off the biggest upset of the day, defeating Clijsters, 76(3) 63.

All four singles quarterfinals take Center Court on Friday. Williams takes on No.3 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova while Vakulenko faces compatriot Alona Bondarenko.

All four doubles quarterfinals took the court Thursday with No.1 seeds Santagelo and Katarina Srebotnik and No.2 seeds Vesnina and Elena Likhovtseva moving ahead but No.3-seeded pairing Meilen Tu and Galina Voskoboeva falling to Bondarenko sisters Alona and Kateryna. Vera Dushevina and Tatiana Perebiynis beat Tathiana Garbin and Michaella Krajicek in a battle between unseeded teams. (WTA)