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Henin into Brisbane final on tour comeback

Justine Henin reached the final in her comeback tournament with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Ana Ivanovic at the Brisbane International today.

Henin, playing her first tour event since she retired while holding the No1 ranking in May 2008, had some trouble with her first serve but otherwise was too consistent for the 2008 French Open champion.

The seven-time major winner announced her comeback last September, soon after fellow Belgian Kim Clijsters won the US Open three tournaments into her own return from retirement.

The Belgian pair could meet in the final here, with Clijsters to face German Andrea Petkovic in Friday's later semi-final.

"Perfect situation for me, I'm in the final of my first tournament back -- it's amazing," Henin said. "It is a surprise, of course, because it's not as easy as it seems maybe on the court ... 18 months without competition, it's not that easy.

"I didn't know what to expect but it's more than what I could expect for. Now it's only a bonus to be here at this stage of the tournament, and it's what I needed also."

Ivanovic, 22, who has slipped from No1 to No21 and failed to win a tournament in 2009, made 19 unforced errors and four telling double-faults.

Clijsters reached the semis with a topsy turvy 6-1, 0-6, 6-4 win over No41-ranked Lucie Safarova, while Petkovic had an upset win over fourth-seeded Daniela Hantuchova in straight sets to advance to her third tour semi-final. In the men's quarter-finals, fourth-seeded Tomas Berdych held off eighth-seeded Thomas Bellucci of Brazil 7-6 (4), 2-6, 7-6 (3). Top-seeded Andy Roddick had a night match Friday against Richard Gasquet of France.

Defending champion Radek Stepanek is already into the semis after beating American Wayne Odesnik 7-6 (2), 6-1 on Thursday. He'll play third-seeded Frenchman Gael Monfils, who rallied to beat James Blake 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 after the veteran American saved three match points.


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