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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 January 2008, 10:24 GMT
Brilliant Sharapova hammers Henin
Maria Sharapova
Sharapova was simply too good for the tournament favourite
Maria Sharapova produced a magnificent display of clean hitting to thrash world number one Justine Henin 6-4 6-0 in the Australian Open quarter-finals.

The Russian came out flying to break in the second game and though Henin pulled it back in game nine, a fantastic cross-court backhand won her the set.

Sharapova then waltzed through the second with a succession of winners to end Henin's 32-match winning run.

The fifth seed will now take on Jelena Jankovic in the last four on Thursday.

I really felt like I was in my own bubble

Maria Sharapova

It is the fourth year running she has reached that stage and few will back against her going all the way after a quite awesome performance which left her Belgian opponent in a daze.

Right from the start she thundered powerful groundstrokes to the corners, leaving Henin struggling to stay in rallies.

The top seed has not been at her best in Melbourne and that lack of fluency was ruthlessly exposed.

Sharapova, 20, had lost six of their eight previous meetings but a seventh never looked likely as she smashed 30 winners to take the opening set.


It was one-way traffic in the second, with Henin suffering her first 6-0 rout since 2002 and first defeat since Wimbledon.

"I really felt like I was in my own bubble," said Sharapova, who lost in last year's final to Serena Williams.

"I wasn't trying to pay attention to her record or how many tournaments she won, which is an incredible number.

"It's amazing when you go out on the court and feel you're doing the right things to beat such an amazing player as her. It's just incredible."

Henin tipped her conqueror to lift the trophy on Saturday after being outclassed in an hour and 38 minutes.

It looked like it was her day and her tournament - she's in great shape

Henin on Sharapova

The 25-year-old has been troubled by a knee injury but refused to put her defeat down to that.

"A lot of things can happen but she looks like she's the player who is really confident now, and she has a great chance to do it," Henin said.

"She was really aggressive, attacking the ball, and I was way too far back. She's improved quite a lot in the last few weeks and came back much better than she was last year.

"I was a bit anxious, because I knew I wasn't really 100%. It's not an excuse about what happened on the court, because she was much better than me.

"She served consistently and it looked like it was her day and probably her tournament. She's in great shape."

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