ZURICH, Oct 20 (Reuters) World number one Justine Henin struggled to a 3-6 6-3 7-5 win over Czech teenager Nicole Vaidisova today to reach the Zurich Open final.
''She pushed me a lot and I'm sure she's going to be giving us a lot of trouble over the next few years,'' Henin told reporters.
''I improved slowly but surely and eventually came through. Now I just need to recover for the final.'' The Belgian next meets Francesca Schiavone of Italy or Frenchwoman Tatiana Golovin.
Chasing her ninth title of the season, and fourth in a row, Henin's run of 18 consecutive victories was in danger of ending against Vaidisova.
The unseeded Czech, who lost all three of her previous meetings with Henin, was under plenty of pressure at the start but the 18-year-old world number 15 stunned Henin by breaking serve to take a 5-3 lead.
If the teenager was nervous she did not show it, serving out to love as Henin dropped her first set of the week.
The Belgian rallied to take the second set after finally breaking serve in the eighth game.
The two players failed to hold serve in the third set until Henin held for a 4-2 advantage.
She then spurned two match points at 5-3 before going on to lose her own serve. Henin, though, broke again to complete victory after two hours 18 minutes.
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