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Last Updated: Friday, 6 June, 2003, 14:24 GMT 15:24 UK
Serena claims dismissed
Serena Williams and Justine Henin-Hardenne shake hands after their semi-final
Williams was going for a fifth straight Grand Slam title

Justine Henin-Hardenne has denied suggestions by Serena Williams that she cheated in their French Open semi-final.

The Belgian fourth seed beat the reigning champion 6-2 4-6 7-5 in a tough encounter at Roland Garros.

Her American opponent was repeatedly booed by the French crowd and later accused Henin-Hardenne of "lying and fabricating".

She was referring to an incident in the third set when the Belgian appeared to ignore tennis etiquette and not allow Williams to replay a first serve.

But Henin-Hardenne, who faces compatriot Kim Clijsters in Saturday's final, said: "I wasn't ready to play the point.

"The chair umpire is there to deal with these kind of situations - I just tried to stay focused and to forget all the other things.

"It's her point of view but that's mine now and I feel comfortable with it."

The controversy occurred at 4-2, 30-0 on Williams's serve.

Unseen by Swedish umpire Stefan Fransson, Henin-Hardenne raised her hand to indicate she was not ready to receive and Williams then served into the net.

The top seed had hoped her opponent would tell the umpire she had raised her hand and allow the American to replay her first serve.

Serena Williams
Williams was upset by the crowds' treatment
But the Belgian said nothing and Fransson did not intervene, forcing Williams to play her second serve.

She lost the next four points to lose on her service game, eventually, the match.

"I didn't have any discussion with the chair umpire," Henin-Hardenne said. "He didn't ask me anything.

"[Serena] saw me and she served. It was her decision to serve - I just tried to stay focused on the second serve.

"It's very important to concentrate on the positive things from the match and try to forget this kind of incident."





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