Henin-Hardenne, Clijsters advance to Rogers Cup final

August 20, 2005 02:54 PM
TORONTO (AP) _ Fourth-seeded Justine Henin-Hardenne beat defending champion Amelie Mauresmo 7-5, 3-6, 6-1 on Saturday night to step a championship match against fellow Belgian Kim Clijsters in the Rogers Cup.

Clijsters, seeded seventh, beat No. 9 Anastasia Myskina of Russia 6-4, 6-1.

``She's probably the best defending player out there at the moment,'' Clijsters said about Henin-Hardenne. ``She's very fit. She just has this incredible touch with her hands, especially with her slice. I mean, she can just keep getting those balls back.

``It's not like they float up. You have to be always there expecting every ball back against her.''

A winner of two of the last three WTA Tour events, Clijsters has won a tour-leading five titles this year.

Henin-Hardenne, who won the tournament in 2003, is having a solid year after her 2004 season was marred by an energy-sapping virus. She is 31-2 this season with four titles, including the French Open, and appears to have recovered from a recent hamstring injury.

For the second straight day, Myskina wore a bulky splint on her sprained left ankle, which she injured during her win Thursday over Shinobu Asagoe of Japan.

They played to a 4-4 tie in the first set, but Clijsters held serve and converted a break when Myskina's shot sailed long. In the second set, Myskina seemed to lose steam as Clijsters took a 2-0 lead and dominated the rest of the way.

``She did a good thing to move me around,'' Myskina said. ``Then I got really tired by the second set. If I would have won the first set, maybe that would be different in the second.''

Clijsters used her characteristic acrobatic play to chase down balls. Despite the injury, Myskina defeated Gisela Dulka 6-4, 7-5 in the quarterfinals on Friday.

``Even when she's on the run, she can hit it so hard and flat,'' Clijsters said. ``That's definitely one of her strengths.''

Myskina was uncertain whether she'd be ready to play at the Pilot Penn next week in New Haven, Conn.