Henin extends winning streak

Paris, June 5:

Serena Williams failed to end Justine Henin’s record run at the French Open. Keeping Williams on the move with versatile shotmaking, two-time defending champion Henin advanced to the semi-finals by winning 6-4, 6-3 on Tuesday. Henin extended her Open era record winning streak at Roland Garros to 31 consecutive sets. Henin is two rounds from becoming the first woman to win three consecutive French Open titles since Monica Seles in 1990-92.

Williams, who had won her past 11 Grand Slam matches, was the lone remaining American in men’s or women’s singles.

Top-ranked Roger Federer set an Open era record by extending his winning streak in Grand Slam matches to 36 consecutive sets — then lost the next set. He regrouped and hit a series of brilliant shots down the stretch to beat No 9-seeded Tommy Robredo in the quarter-finals, 7-5, 1-6, 6-1, 6-2.

Federer, who has reached the semi-finals in a record 12 consecutive major events, is seeking the only Grand Slam title he has yet to win. He’ll next play fourth-seeded Nikolay Davydenko, who beat No 19 Guillermo Canas 7-5, 6-4, 6-4.

Henin’s opponent on Thursday will be fourth-seeded Jelena Jankovic, who beat No 6 Nicole Vaidisova 6-3, 7-5. The other women’s semi-final will be between No 2 Maria Sharapova and No 7 Ana Ivanovic. Sharapova beat No 9 Anna Chakvetadze 6-3, 6-4, and Ivanovic beat 2006 runner-up Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-0, 3-6, 6-1.

For Sharapova, Ivanovic and Jankovic, it’s their best showing at the French Open. The 19-year-old Ivanovic is a first-time Grand Slam semi-finalist.

Henin improved to 14-1 in Grand Slam quarter-finals and faces Jankovic, who is 44-10 this year and 23-3 on clay. But two of those clay-court losses came against Henin.

Sharapova lost her previous two quarter-final matches at Roland Garros but the two-time Grand Slam champion managed a breakthrough against Chakvetadze.