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   Tuesday, 21 January, 2003, 10:14 GMT
Henin seals Venus date
Justine Henin-Hardenne is in her first Australian Open semi-final
Henin-Hardenne is in her first Australian Open semi
Justine Henin-Hardenne reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open for the first time with a convincing win over Virginia Ruano Pascual.

Fifth seed Henin-Hardenne swept past the unseeded Spaniard 6-2 6-2 in one hour 20 minutes to set up a meeting with Venus Williams.

After a faltering start which saw her drop the opening two games, the former Wimbledon finalist roared back with eight games in a row.

And although Pascual battled hard to stay alive at the end of the second set, Henin-Hardenne served out to reach her fourth Grand Slam semi.

"It was a pretty good match and I am happy to be in the semi-finals," said the Belgian.

"After three-and-a-half hours against Lindsay (Davenport), I was pretty happy that today was quicker.

"That gives me a good chance to rest before playing Venus."

And Henin-Hardenne insisted she can prevent the seemingly inevitable all-Williams final.

"It is going to be a tough match. We have had a lot of close matches before and Venus is a great champion.

"She is playing well and is very strong but I am playing well and I will go out there to win the match, even I need to be at 200% to win."

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