Justine Doesn't Sink, Reaches SFs

Justine Henin outlasted Melinda Czink in a third set tie-break in Thursday's quarterfinals.

Published January 07, 2010 12:00

Justine Doesn't Sink, Reaches SFs
Justine Henin

BRISBANE, Australia - Justine Henin's comeback nearly came to a halt but her fighting spirit carried her into the semifinals, as she edged a game Melinda Czink in the quarterfinals on Thursday, 62 36 76(5).

Listen to commentary on all singles matches on Pat Rafter Arena this week (and maybe even some doubles) on AO Series Radio!

Playing her first Sony Ericsson WTA Tour event since retiring from tennis 19 months ago, Henin won her first and second round matches in straight sets; Czink, the No.7 seed, pushed the Belgian wildcard hard however, getting the lone break of serve in the second set and clawing back into contention several times in the third set, including rallying from 1-4 to 4-4 before falling.

"This was something I needed - a tough match, a good fight," Henin said of the two-hour, 21-minute brawl. "It was a different rhythm. She played very well, it was a high level of tennis today. There were lots of ups and downs for me but when it got to the third set I realized I had to fight very hard to win."

Next up for Henin will be No.3 seed Ana Ivanovic, who cruised in the first set and saved set point in the second set tie-break to edge Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, 62 76(6). Henin is 4-0 lifetime against Ivanovic, although this will be the first time they play in almost exactly two years.

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At night, top seed Kim Clijsters survived a streaky three-setter against Lucie Safarova, splitting two lopsided sets before winning, 61 06 64.

"She really raised her game in the second set and hit all the lines. It seemed like I couldn't get in the rallies before she hit a winner, but I should have started to step into the ball earlier than I did," Clijsters said of Safarova. "Before the third set I told myself to forget it and try for every point. I started to serve better, but it was just a few points that made the difference."

Clijsters will next play Andrea Petkovic, who upset No.4 seed Daniela Hantuchova earlier in the day, 64 62. It will be the pair's first meeting.

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