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Gamewatch: Henin-Hardenne v Clijsters
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Wimbledon semi-final result:

J HENIN-H Bel 3 v K CLIJSTERS Bel 2

6-4 7-6

GAME-BY-GAME UPDATES

By Bryn Palmer

1440 BST: Henin-Hardenne wins in exactly an hour-an-a-half to complete her fifth straight victory over Clijsters in Grand Slams, and reach her second Wimbledon final.

BBC Sport commentator David Mercer : "She may only be ranked number three but to my mind Henin-Hardenne is clearly the best player in the world at the moment."

Tie-break:

Henin-Hardenne 6-4 7-6 Clijsters
The tie-break goes with serve early on, as Henin produces her first ace of the match and then wins the next point to go 3-2 up. But the first error comes from Clijsters, who plants a forehand into the net to fall 4-2 behind. Henin then wins the next point to go 5-2 ahead, before putting an overhead into the net, 5-3. Clijsters puts a forehand agonisingly wide, even though Hawk-Eye says it was 3mm in, to fall three match points down. She saves the first one, but a backhand winner sees Henin-Hardenne seal victory.

Second set:

Henin-Hardenne 6-4 6-6 Clijsters
Serving for the set, Clijsters loses the first two points through no real fault of her own, such is the venom in Henin's groundstrokes. A vicious spinning backhand forces an error from Clijsters, and she promptly puts an easy forehand out. Has she lost her chance as we go into a tie-break?

Henin-Hardenne 6-4 5-6 Clijsters
Both players are producing their best tennis now. Clijsters allows herself a smile after prevailing in a pulsating 18-stroke rally to go 0-30 up, then earn herself three break points. Henin takes a dubious option with a drop-shot that Clijsters punishes to break her compatriot to love. Game on!

Henin-Hardenne 6-4 5-5 Clijsters
Henin advances to great effect with a wrong-footing backhand volley but with the pressure well and truly on, Kim comes to the party, holding serve.

Henin-Hardenne 6-4 5-4 Clijsters
Despite Clijsters' improvement, Henin appears to be relishing the situation as the match reaches its critical point, playing a high-quality service game. Can Clijsters hold serve to prolong the match?

BBC Sport commentator Sam Smith: "Clijsters is hitting the ball harder and deeper from the baseline, not allowing Henin to get into the net."

Henin-Hardenne 6-4 4-4 Clijsters
Henin is pushing hard as she takes the first point on Clijsters' serve, and is rushing her opponent with the speed of her returns. But Clijsters unleashes an 83mph forehand winner to hold serve, and celebrates with a spot of fist-pumping.

Henin-Hardenne 6-4 4-3 Clijsters
Clijsters concedes several quick points with some unforced errors, but rallies well to get back to 40-30 before Henin opts for an inauspicious drop-shot that Clijsters punishes. But she then puts a backhand long to leave Henin in control.

BBC Sport commentator David Mercer : "Is Kim Clijsters too nice to be a great champion?"

Henin-Hardenne 6-4 3-3 Clijsters
Henin has to go to her chair to take a drink after a brief spate of coughing. It doesn't affect the quality of her returning though as she dumps one right back at Clijsters' feet. Clijsters puts two forehands out to surrender the break.

Henin-Hardenne 6-4 2-3 Clijsters
A "C'mon" from Clijsters is followed by an "Allez" from Henin as the temperature hots up on and off the court. Henin is not prepared to give up this set easily as she produces a far better service game.

Henin-Hardenne 6-4 1-3 Clijsters
Both players look a little nervy as Clijsters serves a double fault to go 15-30 down. But her first serve gets her out of trouble and a forehand cross-court winner after the best rally of the match so far sees her consolidate the break.

Henin-Hardenne 6-4 1-2 Clijsters
The momentum switches once again. Clijsters connects with a backhand to a second serve to get to 15-30 and Henin pushes a forehand long to concede two break points. Her fourth double fault promptly hands Clijsters the game. Can she take advantage of this opening?

Henin-Hardenne 6-4 1-1 Clijsters
Brief relief for Clijsters as Henin puts a forehand long on the first point. But the number three seed swiftly reels off three winners to give herself two more break points. Clijsters saves them both and proceeds to hold a vital service game when she appeared on the point of collapse.

Henin-Hardenne 6-4 1-0 Clijsters
The momentum is all with Henin-Hardenne as she wins the opening game of the second set, her fourth in a row. She has won the last 11 points.


First set:

BBC Sport commentator Sam Smith: "Clijsters doesn't quite trust her groundstrokes when it counts."

Henin-Hardenne 6-4 Clijsters
Clijsters puts a backhand long to lose the first point and a double fault leaves her struggling at 0-30. Henin steps it up again to earn three break points and only needs the one, breaking Clijsters to love to wrap up the opening set.

Henin-Hardenne 5-4 Clijsters
A first "allez" of the day from Henin as she puts away a backhand volley to level at 30-30. Two points later and she has reeled off two games in a row, leaving Clijsters serving to stay in the set.

Henin-Hardenne 4-4 Clijsters
Clijsters is content to remain at the back of the court, and when the opportunity arises to move forward her hesitancy sees her slice a backhand into the net to give Henin her second break point of the match. Clijsters promptly puts a backhand wide to hand her the game.

Henin-Hardenne 3-4 Clijsters
The first break of serve, and it goes to Clijsters. Henin serves a third double fault to put herself on the back foot, and her opponent takes full advantage to seize the initiative with some punishing groundstrokes.

Henin-Hardenne 3-3 Clijsters
Clijsters has also yet to drop a set during the tournament to this point, so one player's record has got to give. Henin-Hardenne is getting forward to the net to good effect, earning a first break point and then another deuce after Clijsters saves it with a good serve. An indication of where Henin's tactics lie, but no breakthrough as yet.

Henin-Hardenne 3-2 Clijsters
Henin wrong-foots Clijsters to the extent the number two seed tries to play a shot left-handed from the back of the court. The improvisation yields no reward, although a second Henin double fault at 40-15 gives her a biref glimmer of hope, which is swiftly dispelled.

Henin-Hardenne 2-2 Clijsters
Clijsters, from the Flemish-speaking part of Belgium, looks determined to reach her first Wimbledon final. She cruises to 40-0 before Henin finds her range with a sparkling return, but it is the only point Clijsters allows her.

Henin-Hardenne 2-1 Clijsters
Henin, from French-speaking Liége, has not conceded a set on her way to this semi-final. She loses one point on her second service game but comfortably holds.

Henin-Hardenne 1-1 Clijsters
A delicate drop-shot and a rasping cross-court backhand gives Henin the first point, but Clijsters hits back with a forehand winner. Some strong serving sees her level with few alarms.

Henin-Hardenne 1-0 Clijsters
Henin-Hardenne puts a forehand long to give Clijsters a sniff at 30-30, and the number two seed prevails in the next rally to earn a first break point. But Henin saves it with a strong first serve, and an ace after Clijsters forces a second deuce helps her hold in the opening game.


1308: Henin-Hardenne, despite being seeded third, starts a slight favourite against her compatriot, having won seven of their last 10 meetings, and their last four in Grand Slams.

1306: There is a smattering of blue sky breaking through the clouds as the two Belgian combatants enter the most famous arena in tennis.

1305 BST: The skies over Wimbledon are overcast but rain-free as the players prepare to walk out onto Centre Court.

SEE ALSO
Wimbledon day 10 photos
06 Jul 06 |  Tennis


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