Team WTAworld, Administrator, aka Nibbler
ANTWERP, BELGIUM (TICKER) -- Venus Williams and Justine Henin, the top two seeds, overcame formidable foes on Saturday to advance to the final of the $585,000 Proximus Diamond Games.
Top seed Williams battled through the first-set tiebreak as the American pulled away to beat third seed Amelie Mauresmo of France, 7-6 (7-4), 6-0.
Second seed and local favorite Henin took advantage after Patty Schnyder of Switzerland lost her cool, rallying for a 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory.
Williams, who is seeking her 23rd career title, recorded her fourth victory in as many career matches against Mauresmo. The two-time defending Wimbledon and U.S. Open champion also defeated Mauresmo in three sets in the semifinals of the Paris Indoors event last week before receiving a walkover against Jelena Dokic of Yugoslavia in the final.
Mauresmo has stumbled against Americans in her other two outings in 2002, falling to Jennifer Capriati in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open and to Venus' sister, Serena, in the last eight at Sydney.
Henin dropped six straight games as she lost the first set. But in the fourth game of the second, Schnyder threw her racket in frustration at a disputed call.
That gave the Marloie, Belgium resident the opening she needed as Henin improved to 2-0 against Schnyder.
The Belgian teenager has enjoyed success in Antwerp in the past, becoming the fifth player to win her debut WTA Tour event. As a wild-card entrant, Henin captured the 1999 Flanders Women's Open claycourt event.
Henin will hope home-court advantage will help her overcome Williams in a WTA final. The 21-year-old Calfornia native prevailed over Henin in last year's Wimbledon final and last month's Gold Coast final.
The champion collects $93,000.