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Petkovic, Henin to Meet in Final

Andrea Petkovic survived a cliffhanger to set up a finals showdown with Justine Henin.

Published June 18, 2010 12:00

Petkovic, Henin to Meet in Final
Andrea Petkovic

'S-HERTOGENBOSCH, The Netherlands - Top seed Justine Henin and seventh-seeded Andrea Petkovic will meet in the final of the $220,000 UNICEF Open after winning very different semifinals on Friday.

Wildcard Henin was first through to the championship match courtesy of a 62 62 defeat of No.5 seed Alexandra Dulgheru. The Henin delivery was never broken during the match, and four of the 17 points she relinquished on serve were because of double faults.

"In today's match, I think my level was better than the last few days," said Henin, playing the first grass court event of her comeback. "My rhythm was better and I was feeling more comfortable on the grass. I now have one more chance to finish my preparation for Wimbledon in a positive way... it's good to have one more chance to get a win."

The second semi was far more complicated, with another Belgian, Kirsten Flipkens, playing just her second Sony Ericsson WTA Tour semi against Petkovic. Flipkens is a former junior Wimbledon champion with a game ideally suited to grass, and up a set and a break - having recovered an early 2-5 deficit - she seemed to be on course for a meeting with her illustrious countrywoman.

But Petkovic - who, like Dulgheru, will make her main draw debut at Wimbledon next week - held her nerve when it mattered in the closely-fought contest. The German won all five break points she held against the Belgian to clinch a 67(3) 76(2) 64 win in over two-and-a-half hours.

"I'm disappointed to miss the chance to play Justine in my first Tour final, but I can't say too much to myself," Flipkens said. "Of course it's difficult to lose by this score, but Andrea played great tennis on the important points. I learned a lot, and have enough confidence to go off to Wimbledon."

Henin won this title way back in 2001, one of 42 Tour titles to her name. Petkovic is through to her second Tour final; the 22-year-old won the first, at Bad Gastein, last year. The finalists will be meeting for the first time.

The doubles final was also played on Friday, with No.3 seeds Alla Kudryavtseva and Anastasia Rodionova edging fourth-seeded Vania King and Yaroslava Shvedova in a match tie-break, 36 63 106. The win marks a second Tour doubles title for Russian Kudryavtseva, and a third for Russian-born Australian Rodionova, who were the runners-up at Strasbourg last month.

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