British number one to play Ancic for Marseille Open title

MARSEILLE: British number one Andy Murray stormed into the Marseille Open final with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu yesterday.

World number 11 Murray, seeded fourth in the indoor event, will face Croatia's Mario Ancic in today's final.

Ancic, who dropped out of the top 100 after missing most of last season with glandular fever, knocked out sixth seed Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus 6-4, 6-2 in the other semi-final.

“I played really well,” said Murray, who will play his second final this year after Doha, where he won the title last month.

“It was probably one of my best matches this year,” he added.

“My serve was strong and my plan to force him to take the net worked perfectly.”

The other semi-final was tighter at first, both players holding serve until Ancic broke Baghdatis in the ninth game before wrapping up the first set on his service game.

Ancic, a losing finalist in Marseille in 2006, stepped up a gear in the second set, relying on booming serves to cruise to victory.

Murray and Ancic have met once before, in Auckland in 2006. Ancic then won 6-3, 7-6.

n ANTWERP: On-target Justine Henin would regain a huge dose of confidence were she to win her first title at home in Belgium today’s final at the Diamond Games.

The world number one took a step closer in her quest for the honour with a 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 semi-final comeback over Swiss qualifier Timea Bacsiszky yesterday.

She will await a winner for the title showdown as China's Li Na and Italian Karin Knapp clash later.

As she settles back into tennis after losing last month in the Australian Open quarter-finals to Maria Sharapova, Henin is still coming to terms with the knee problem which compromised her start of season.

“The knee is 100 percent now, she said after going through in just over two hours. “But I was playing in pain in Australia, I came back and had to take an injection and rest.

“I'm not a machine, I'm a human person. A lot changed in my life over the past 12 months (divorce and a reconciliation with her family). I've had time to reflect on that as well.”

Henin is making a sentimental journey this week as she plays in her native land on the WTA for only the third time.

This weekend is her last chance, with the tournament falling victim to a schedule change which will wipe the popular and well-attended event from the calendar from 2009.

“The crowd was amazing, they helped me through tough moments,” said the holder of 40 titles including seven grand slams.

"It was a tough match, Timea has been playing well this week," said Henin, needed four match points to conclude the match.

"My goal this week was to be here for the final. I've never won at home and it would be so great to do so. "It would be fantastic, a real thrill." - Agencies

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