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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 June, 2005, 14:48 GMT 15:48 UK
Pierce win sets up Henin showdown
Mary Pierce
Mary Pierce delighted the Roland Garros crowd by demolishing Elena Likhovtseva to reach Saturday's French Open final.

The Frenchwoman bludgeoned 26 winners as she beat her Russian opponent 6-1 6-1 in less than an hour.

Pierce will face Justine Henin-Hardenne in the final after the Belgian defeated another Russian, Nadia Petrova.

The 30-year-old Pierce is looking to complete a fairytale repeat of her 2000 victory at Roland Garros, since when her career has been blighted by injury.

She is likely to face a much stiffer test against Henin-Hardenne than she did against Likhovtseva.

The Russian, like Petrova in the first semi-final, appeared nervous and was unable to combat the power and precision of the experienced Pierce.

Pierce said reaching the final was a fitting reward for her long struggle against injury since winning the title in 2000.

"This is unbelievable," she said.

"But what is happening to me is not a fairytale - I worked very hard to get to where I am.

She had good tactics and it worked
Elena Likhovtseva

"When I was down, there was a voice inside me saying there was still something for me in tennis. I listened to that voice and never gave up."

Likhovtseva admitted she had failed to produce her best.

"I fell apart," she said. "She had good tactics and it worked."

However, the Russian said Pierce had upset her rhythm by taking too much time between points.

"It's a little bit annoying, but I have played her many times so I knew," she said.


WATCH AND LISTEN
Highlights: Pierce v Likhovtseva


News conference: Mary Pierce



FROM OTHER SPORT SITES:
ABCNEWS.com Henin-Hardenne Win French Open Title - 48 mins ago
San Francisco Chronicle fourth Grand Slam title - 53 mins ago
Sporting Life All Too Easy For Henin-hardenne - 1 hr ago
VOA Henin-Hardenne Captures 2nd French Open Crown - 1 hr ago
Guardian Unlimited Henin triumphs as Pierce falls apart - 1 hr ago
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