Sports/Olympics / En_Sports_Olympics

Dementieva stuns Henin to set up Sharapova clash
by Reuters
Updated: 2006-03-18 11:36

INDIAN WELLS, Ca., March 17 (Reuters) - Fourth seed Elena Dementieva upset top seed Justine Henin-Hardenne 2-6 7-5 7-5 to reach the Pacific Life Open final on Friday.

Dementieva will face third seed Maria Sharapova, who beat Martina Hingis 6-3 6-3, in the final.

On the men's side, American James Blake overwhelmed Igor Andreev of Russia 6-1 6-4 in the quarter-finals.

Blake will face the winner of the match between number two Rafael Nadal and 25th seed Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus.

Henin came into the match with a 7-1 winning record over Dementieva and cruised through the first set and a half before the wheels came off with the score at 2-5.

A notoriously slow starter Dementieva suddenly found her game, running down ball after ball and rarely making errors.

She broke Henin twice to get back to 5-5 and then wore her bewildered opponent down to take the set.

Henin had her right knee wrapped in between sets and regained momentum in the third set.

Dementieva held a match point with Henin serving at 4-5 but the Belgian came up with an overhead winner.

With Henin serving at 5-6, however, her legs simply gave out and she committed two backhand errors to lose the two-hour, 51-minute contest.

"I was dominating and then I lost my concentration," said Henin. "I helped her come back into the match. Maybe I thought the match was over too soon and she turned the match completely around. She's a great fighter."

STERLING PERFORMANCE

Sharapova gave a sterling performance against Hingis, wearing her opponent down in long rallies, attacking the Swiss player's second serves and bullying her from the forehand side.
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