Tennis-Henin to meet Sharapova in Championships final

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MADRID, Nov 10 (Reuters) Justin Henin remained on course for a successful defence of her WTA Championships crown when she secured her place in the final against Maria Sharapova with a spectacular 6-4 6-4 victory over Ana Ivanovic today.

The world number one was put under heavy pressure by the 20-year-old Serbian in the first set but she held her nerve to save seven of nine break points and responded with three breaks of her own to clinch the opener.

She went 3-0 up in the second and although Ivanovic refused to give up without a fight, the Belgian raised her game to new heights as she wrapped it up in straight sets.

The victory extended Henin's winning streak to 24 matches and put her in her 11th final out of 14 events entered this year.

Sharapova, who won the prestigious end-of-season tournament in 2004 and reached the semi-finals of the last two editions, overpowered fellow Russian Anna Chakvetadze 6-2 6-2 in the first semi-final.

REUTERS PJ HT2300

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