Sam & Justine Into Final
Published May 01, 2010 12:00
STUTTGART, Germany - Two of the best all-court players around will battle for the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix title after Justine Henin and Samantha Stosur won their semifinal matches at the Premier event in straight sets.
Henin, projected to crack the Top 20 again on the new rankings, was the first to advance, beating Shahar Peer in an hour and 14 minutes, 63 62. Henin lost just one game in their only other meeting. Highlights: Henin vs. Peer
"There were some games that were so close. I just played well in the important moments," Henin said. "I just tried to do my job and be really focused."
This is Henin's fifth tournament since returning to the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour at the start of the year and her third final after finishing runner-up at Brisbane and the Aussie Open (to Kim Clijsters and Serena Williams, respectively).
"I hope to have my first title. It would be fantastic," Henin added. "The beginning of the season was really successful. I only missed a few opportunities on hard, so I hope it will help to be on clay now. I expect a tough match tomorrow."
Peer, who was celebrating her 23rd birthday, was still happy with her week: "Because I lose, it doesn't mean it's not a good birthday. It's something special. I had a good week. The score was 63 62 but I had so many chances. Justine was playing very aggressively, so if you don't take your chances it's a problem."
Stosur, seeded No.7 and also a wildcard on account of being a late entry, beat the surprise quantity of the week, Russian qualifier Anna Lapushchenkova, 75 63. Lapushchenkova had leads in both sets - 5-2 first set, 3-1 second set - but each time, Stosur bounced back with five game winning streaks to close her out in straight sets. Highlights: Stosur vs. Lapushchenkova
"She was quite tricky. Eventually I kind of worked it out," Stosur said. "I played her in doubles in Dubai last year. I couldn't remember too much. My coach watched her this week, but it's different when you're figuring it out for yourself."
Lapushchenkova was playing her first Tour semi. In fact, she had never won back-to-back matches on the Tour before, and she also got her first Top 10 win here, over Victoria Azarenka: "I started working with a new coach recently and he believes in me, so it gives me more confidence. I thought I could win the first set but I was a bit nervous, so that's maybe why I lost it. Then I felt very tired."
Henin and Stosur will be playing for the first time. Henin is a four-time French Open champion; Stosur reached her first Grand Slam semifinal at the French last year, and has won her last 11 matches in a row (including winning another clay court tournament, in Charleston, and two Fed Cup wins on clay).
"We've never played before, never hit together, never been on the same court - I'm just really looking forward to it," Stosur said. "She's a great champion. She has had great success on clay. She was probably the benchmark for many years. It'll be a tough battle for both of us, hopefully."