Comeback queen Justine Henin and China’s Zheng Jie won straight-set quarterfinals on Tuesday at the Australian Open to set up a meeting in the semifinals.
Henin beat the Clijsters-killer Nadia Petrova 7-6(3), 7-5, and Zheng beat another Russian, Maria Kirilenko, 6-1, 6-3.
Zheng, the first Chinese player into the Wimbledon semis back in 2006, is now the first Chinese player into the Aussie Open semis.
For Henin one hurdle will be recovering from tough, long matches.
“I haven’t been able to play well in the tough moments and this week, in this tournament, I’ve been able in the last few days to do it,” Henin said after defeating Petrova. “Even if I’m getting older, I still have this fighting spirit, and that’s a good thing.”
Kirilenko was unsuccessful in fighting through injury against Zheng, playing with a heavily-bandaged thigh. Zheng says she looks forward to the battle with Henin.
“I favor her for her is have the so strong the mentally,” Zheng said. “I watch her play always — how you say — enjoy to watch her for play. For second I think is tough match for me, is big challenge. But I like it.”
The Williams sisters were also forced to battle through the women’s doubles quarterfinals, defeating No. 8 seeds Bethanie Mattek-Sands of the U.S. and China’s Zi Yan 6-4, 4-6, 6-4.
The Williams sisters feature in Wednesday quarterfinal singles play, with the No. 6-seeded Venus against China’s No. 16-seeded Na Li, and the top-seeded Serena against No. 7 Victoria Azarenka of Belarus.
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