Henin-Hardenne beats Sharapova

Updated: 25 February 2007 10:37 IST

Justine Henin-Hardenne beat Maria Sharapova 6-2 7-5 (5) in the semifinals of the WTA Championships on Saturday.

Henin-Hardenne beats Sharapova
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Madrid:

Justine Henin-Hardenne beat Maria Sharapova 6-2 7-5 (5) in the semifinals of the WTA Championships on Saturday. The result means that she will now finish the year as the top-ranked player in women's tennis. Henin-Hardenne beat the Russian for the third time in four meetings this year - the Belgian's only loss coming in the US Open final. The victory clinched Henin-Hardenne's second year-end No 1 ranking. Amelie Mauresmo will finish her 34 consecutive weeks as No 1 at the end of the tournament. "It's amazing. I'm very happy," Henin-Hardenne said. "I'm very happy with the way I handled the pressure today. The season is not over yet. I'm No 1 but I still want to win this tournament," she added. Henin-Hardenne broke three times in the first set while forcing the 19-year-old Russian into 14 unforced errors. Sharapova rallied from 5-3 down in the second set with a break in the ninth game to take it to a tie-breaker. The Russian then saved one match point at 6-4 in the tie-breaker, but Henin-Hardenne converted on her second try to give Sharapova only her second loss in 11 tie-breakers this year. Henin-Hardenne can clinch a tour-high sixth title of 2006 in Madrid after missing nearly two months while recovering from a muscle tear in her right knee. (AP)

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