Top guns cruise into semi-finals

Wimbledon, July 4:

Former champion Maria Sharapova and five-time major winner Justine Henin-Hardenne reached the Wimbledon semi-finals on Tuesday. Top-seeded Amelie Mauresmo and Kim Clijsters also got there.

Sharapova outplayed fellow Russian Elena Dementieva 6-1, 6-4 and is now in the semi-finals at Wimbledon for the third time and sixth time at a Grand Slam. Sharapova will next face Mauresmo, who downed former French Open champion Anastasia Myskina, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 to reach the semi-finals for the fourth time in her last four appearances.

Henin-Hardenne beat French qualifier Severine Bremond 6-4, 6-4. No 3 Henin-Hardenne will play fellow Belgian Clijsters. The No 2-seeded Clijsters was a 6-4, 7-5 winner over Li Na.

Henin-Hardenne has a 10-9 career advantage against Clijsters, including wins last month at the French Open and Eastbourne grass-court tournament but the two have never met at Wimbledon.

Henin-Hardenne had a tougher time before subduing Bremond, the first qualifier to reach the Wimbledon quarter-finals since 1999. Li had a 5-2 lead over Clijsters in the second set but couldn’t convert to force a third. Serving at 5-2, she had a set point but wasted the chance by hitting a backhand long. The Belgian won the last five games to close out the match.

Mauresmo, the Australian Open champion, looked headed for an easy win until Myskina came back in the second set. She finished with 22 winners and 32 unforced errors, while Myskina had just six winners.