Ana Defeats Determined Daniela in Madrid
MADRID, Spain - Justine Henin became the first player to the reach the semifinals of this year's Sony Ericsson Championships on Wednesday, when she scored an impressive straight-set win over Jelena Jankovic. The other significant news on Day 2 of the $3-million event was the withdrawal of Serena Williams, who was forced out of the tournament after aggravating a left-knee injury during her clash with Anna Chakvetadze.
Henin has been in supreme form all season long and her second victory in Madrid saw her extend her Sony Ericsson WTA Tour-leading win streak to 22 matches. Jankovic opened the match up with a double fault and this set the tone for the rest of the contest, as the Belgian dominated her rival from the outset. Henin delivered a near-faultless display and despite several entertaining rallies and epic games the 62 62 victory was never in doubt.
"I served much better tonight than on Tuesday," Henin said. "I'm happy that I played so aggressive and it paid off as there were a lot of winners on my side. It was a good match from the first point to the end and although the scoreline was comfortable it was pretty intense actually. I played a very good match and I hope I can continue this form for the rest of the tournament."
Another player looking in fine form in the Spanish capital is Ana Ivanovic, who preserved her 100 per cent record with a hard-fought win over Slovakia's Daniela Hantuchova. The 20-year-old Serb played some inspired tennis in the first set, quickly racing into a 5-0 lead, before closing it out soon after with an ace down the centre.
After fending off two break points in the first game of the second set, a flurry of unforced errors soon saw Hantuchova fall 3-1 behind. However, the No.8 seed did not despair and some intelligent play eventually saw her carve out a break point of her own, which she duly converted to level things up at 4-4. With both players striking the ball confidently, the Madrileños in the Recinto Ferial Casa de Campo crowd were treated to some mesmerizing tennis as the set headed towards a tie-break.
There was little to choose between the two players in the tie-break, but Ivanovic's eighth ace of the match brought up her first match point at 6-5. One fearless Hantuchova forehand later and they were all-square once more, before the Slovak manufactured several set points of her own. These came and went and after two hours, 12 minutes on court it was Ivanovic who closed out the set and with it secured an enthralling 62 76(9) triumph.
"It was a very tough match," Ivanovic said, "the tie-break was especially nervous and we both had opportunities. I was really happy that I managed to win that tie break because after last night I really didn't want to play three sets again so I was pleased that I took my opportunities and managed to save a couple of set points."
Wednesday's other match saw Russia's Chakvetadze score her first victory of the round robin stage when her opponent, Williams, was forced to retire. After falling behind to an early service break, Chakvetadze hit back immediately to win a close first set 64. Williams, who had taken a medical timeout to treat her left knee at 5-4 down, then decided she was not fit to continue and later on announced her withdrawal from the tournament altogether.
"I felt it [the left-knee injury] maybe a little bit yesterday," Williams said. "Although it wasn't too intense so it's really sad it reacted so badly today. I had a really short practice yesterday and the day before I had a short practice because I was just trying to stay fresh for my matches and I'm disappointed I couldn't stay longer in the tournament."