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Justine Henin reaches Brisbane semi-final

Justine Henin
Henin did not have things her own way against Czink

Justine Henin needed six match points before beating Melinda Czink to reach the Brisbane International semi-finals.

The 27-year-old former world number one continued her comeback in her first event since May 2008 with a 6-2 3-6 7-6 (7/5) win over the seventh seed.

Henin will face Ana Ivanovic, who beat Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-4 7-6 (8-6), in the last four.

Kim Clijsters, a 6-1 0-6 6-4 winner over Lucie Safarova, will face German Andrea Petkovic in the other semi.

The 20-year-old upset fourth seed Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia 6-4 6-2 in her quarter-final.

Henin struggled at times against Czink in a match that opened with five straight service breaks.

It's probably something I needed - in the end it was quite tight and nerves had to be solid

Justine Henin

She dropped a set for the first time in three matches of her comeback, and wasted a break and three match points in the third before clinching the win.

"That's the kind of match that I need - not that long maybe," Henin said. "It's a perfect preparation for me.

"I wouldn't say it's a good feeling, but it's probably something I needed - in the end it was quite tight and nerves had to be solid."

In the men's quarter-finals, defending champion Radek Stepanek recovered from a break down in the first set to beat American Wayne Odesnik 7-6 6-1 while third-seeded Frenchman Gael Monfils defeated James Blake 3-6 6-3 6-4 .

Meanwhile, Lleyton Hewitt says he will be fit to compete at the Australian Open despite an injury scare.

The 28-year-old Australian had treatment on his lower back at the end of the first set of his straight-sets Hopman Cup defeat by Tommy Robredo.

But Hewitt came out to play in the mixed doubles, which Australia lost in a final set tie-break to complete a 3-0 defeat by Spain, and then said he expected to be fine for Melbourne.

"I had a back spasm and I was a bit worried at first," the former Wimbledon champion said.

606: DEBATE

"It was frustrating because I couldn't really compete but it loosened up a bit in the second set. I had some massage and I am sure it will be fine."

He is due to play in the ATP event in Sydney starting on Sunday.

"I am sure by the time I play my first match in Sydney, I'll be good to go," he added.

The win for Robredo and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez sees them advance to Saturday's final while in the day's other tie the United States beat Romania 3-0.

Melanie Oudin beat Sorana Cirstea in straight sets, 6-2 6-3, and both the men's singles and mixed doubles forfeited by Romania due to a leg injury to Victor Hanescu.

Britain's Andy Murray and Laura Robson had a rest day in the competition and will be back in action on Friday against Russia knowing a win will see them through to the final.



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see also
Clijsters eyes rematch with Henin
05 Jan 10 |  Tennis
Henin registers comeback victory
04 Jan 10 |  Tennis
Curtains up for new season
09 Jan 10 |  Tennis
New Year's resolution
30 Dec 09 |  Tennis
Henin confirms Brisbane comeback
21 Oct 09 |  Tennis
Henin announces shock retirement
14 May 08 |  Tennis


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