Flipkens Eyes First Final
Published June 17, 2010 12:00
'S-HERTOGENBOSCH, Netherlands - Justine Henin and Kirsten Flipkens took one step closer to an all-Belgian final at the UNICEF Open, both winning their quarterfinal matches at the grass court tournament in straight sets.
Henin, seeded No.1, had the tougher time of the two, defeating Kristina Barrois in a tight two-setter, 75 63. Henin led 5-3 in the first set and had double set point at 5-4 when the German fought back to even it up; the surge wouldn't last long however as Henin won five of the next six games and never looked back.
Like Henin, Barrois hits a one-handed backhand. Henin hadn't played a one-hander in her 2010 comeback until Wednesday in 's-Hertogenbosch, when she beat Roberta Vinci in straight sets. She is now 2-0 in her comeback (and 4-0 in sets) against that particular playing style, rare among the game's elite.
Squaring off in the other semi will be No.7 seed Andrea Petkovic and an unseeded Flipkens. Petkovic beat qualifier Sandra Zahlavova in the quarters, 62 76(5), and Flipkens then routined Dominika Cibulkova, 62 63.
"I didn't play that well today, but if you still manage to win you get confidence," said Petkovic, who had to rally from 5-3 down to win the second set against Zahlavova. "I've played Kirsten a couple of times, and I know she feels very comfortable on grass, which is obviously not the case with me!"
Flipkens has been staying at home this week in nearby Mol, Belgium: "It's easy - I play my match, do the press conference, eat something then drive back home," the 24-year-old said. "It's just like normal. I just enjoy it very much. I can sleep in my own bed, have my mom cooking for me - I can relax how I want."
Henin and Dulgheru will be a first-time meeting, but the other semifinal won't be, with Petkovic leading Flipkens in their head-to-head, 2-1.
While Dulgheru, Petkovic and (obviously) Henin have won Sony Ericsson WTA Tour titles before, Flipkens has matched her career-best result by making the semifinals here - a final four finish at Forest Hills in 2004.