Australian Open: Justine Henin, Zheng Jie in Semis
MELBOURNE: Former world number one Justine Henin and Chinese battler Zheng Jie set up an unlikely Australian Open semi-final after both enjoyed straight sets quarter-final wins on Tuesday.
Henin beat a determined Nadia Petrova of Russia 7-6 (7/3), 7-5 before Zheng created yet more history by beating another Russian, Maria Kirilenko, 6-1, 6-3.
After becoming the first Chinese player into the Wimbledon semi-finals in 2006, Zheng has now achieved the same honour in Australia.
Henin kept her fairytale comeback well on track when she beat Petrova in one-hour 51 minutes, the first time since round one that the 27-year-old has been off court in under two hours.
The dangerous Petrova had been in excellent form heading into the match, highlighted by her 52 minute thrashing of Kim Clijsters in the third round and her win over third seed Svetlana Kuznetsova in the fourth.
There was little between the two players as they went shot for shot on a hot day on the Rod Laver Arena but Henin was able to lift her game at crucial moments in both sets.
Zheng also impressed as she took control early against the 23-year-old Kirilenko, who took to the court with her left thigh heavily bandaged and called for a medical time out at the end of the first set.