Henin, Clijsters turn clock back

Henin, Clijsters turn clock back


Ace high: Andy Roddick serves to Richard Gasquet. Reuters

Henin, playing her first tournament since her shock retirement in 2008, crushed Serbia's Ana Ivanovic 6-3 6-2 in a little over an hour in their semifinal.

Then Clijsters, who won last year's US Open after making her own fairytale comeback, demolished Germany's Andrea Petkovic 6-4 6-2 in an ominous sign of her intentions for this month's Australian Open.

"I don't think anyone around the world expected to see this again," Clijsters said of meeting Henin in the final. "I look forward to it. Back to the old days. We grew up playing under-12s and sharing rooms together and we have history together."

The former Fed Cup team mates have already played each other 22 times before, with Henin holding a 12-10 advantage, but Saturday's final will be their first clash since the 2006 Wimbledon semifinals.

"There is so much respect between the two of us so, I know sometimes people would love to hear there have been problems between us but that's not the case," Henin said.
In the men's event, Andy Roddick and Tomas Berdych both won their quarterfinals to join holder Radek Stepanek and Gael Monfils.  Roddick  beat Richard Gasquet 6-3 7-6 after Berdych edged past Brazil's Thomaz Bellucci 7-6 2-6 7-6.

Top seeds Leander Paes and Lukas Dlouhy entered the doubles final  after a 6-4, 0-6, 10-7 win over Jurgen Melzer and Philipp Petzschner.

At Doha, World number one Roger Federer reached the Qatar Open semifinals with a 6-2, 4-6. 6-4 win over Ernests Gulbis while number two Rafael Nadal had an easier ride when his opponent  Steve Darcis retired with an injured back with the score reading 6-1, 2-0.  Federer will face Nikolay Davydenko who beat big-serving Croat Ivo Karlovic 7-6, 7-6.
Nadal will next play Serbia's Viktor Troicki, who overcame Lukasz Kubot 4-6, 6-4, 7-6.
Italian top seed Flavia Pennetta advanced to the final of the Auckland Classic after thumping Francesca Schiavone 6-3, 6-0. She will meet Yanina Wickmayer, a 6-4, 7-5 winner over Shahar Peer 6-4, 7-5.

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