Belgians set up semi-final date

Belgians set up semi-final date
By Eurosport

06/06/2006 at 14:26Updated

Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin-Hardenne ensured that Belgium will be represented in this year's French Open final with respective quarter final wins on Tuesday. Second seed Clijsters ended Martina Hingis' hopes of glory whilst Henin-Hardenne coasted past

After taking a tight first set, Clijsters simply outplayed the former world number one and pushed on to a well-deserved 7-6 (7/5) 6-1 victory, marking the difference with 31 winners.

Clijsters made the faster start and broke in Hingis' opening service game as she opened up a 3-0 lead.

The Swiss player then saved a set point on her own serve in the eighth game and having escaped from her brush with danger broke back to love when Clijsters attempted to serve out the set.


Clijsters also proved to be the smarter player, changing the pace at the right time and making more successful drop shots in the tie-break.

Hingis could not fend off the second seed any longer and a backhand winner gave her the breaker by seven points to five.

With her confidence swollen, the popular Belgian ran away with the second set thanks to an impressive display of tennis, winning it in just 22 minutes to end Hingis' hopes of completing a career Grand Slam - at least for another year.

"I knew I had to improve my game and I did," said Clijsters after the match. "I really stepped up."

"I don't think clay is my favourite surface. But the support with all the Belgian flags in the stands really helped me."


The fifth seed was broken in the opening game of the match, but was soon back on the attack, breaking back to draw level at 2-2.

And from then on the Belgian looked in total control, and her consistency was too much for the German.

Groenefeld struggled with her first serve all match, and at 5-5, Henin-Hardenne broke before closing out the first set.

She did manage to convert some of her unforced errors into winners to come back to 3-2, but from there on in Henin-Hardenne took control and had little trouble in taking the final three games to secure her passage into the semi-finals.

Postcards from Roland