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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 June 2007, 13:19 GMT 14:19 UK
Brilliant Henin sails past Serena
Justine Henin
Henin beat Williams for the first time since their 2003 semi-final
Justine Henin was in superb form as she saw off a subdued Serena Williams 6-4 6-3 to reach the French Open last four.

The defending champion broke in the first game and Williams could not find a way back into the match.

The crowd sensed a Williams comeback when the American immediately broke back having dropped serve at the start of the second set.

But Henin's aggressive tactics kept forcing mistakes as she clinched her first win over Williams since 2003.

On that occasion, Henin beat Williams in a controversial semi-final at Roland Garros which ended with the American leaving the court in tears.

I don't think I've ever played so bad in the quarters of a grand slam

Serena Williams

There was no such drama on Tuesday as Henin, seeking a French Open title hat-trick, completed a clinical win in one hour 18 minutes.

The pair shared a warm handshake at the net, and Henin said: "She wished me the best, and to go to the end of the tournament.

"There is a lot of respect between the two of us, and it was a very correct match today. So I think we were both happy about that."

A frustrated Williams said she had all but handed Henin victory.

"All she had to do was show up. I don't think I've ever played so bad in the quarters of a grand slam," said Williams.

"I'm always saying I want to peak at the right time but I didn't have any peaks today. I've never played so hideous and horrendous.

"I just stood back and let her take advantage of me. I was just making all the errors and playing like a maniac."


But Henin rejected Williams' view and maintained that her tactics had worked to perfection.

"It's her opinion. I thought I just did a good job. I just see it from my point of view, and I did everything I could to control the match," she said.

"I managed to hold my serve at the important moments."

Henin had not been at her best in reaching the quarter-finals but she came into the match with a clear gameplan for the eight-times Grand Slam champion.

She was aggressive from the outset, moving Williams about at will, and the American could not cope.

The top seed finished with a 100% conversion rate on break points (four of four) - while Williams took just one of the two she created.

The crowd briefly came to life at the start of the second set when Williams slammed her racket to the ground after dropping serve.

But the boos quickly subsided and when Williams exited the stadium, she did so to warm - even sympathetic - applause from the Henin-supporting crowd.

Henin goes on to face Jelena Jankovic in the semi-finals when she will seek to extend her Open-era record of winning 31 consecutive sets in Paris dating back to 2005.

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