Henin loses for first time in Dubai as Schiavone engineers upset
( dpa ) - Justine Henin's 17-match career winning streak at the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships ended in tatters on Thursday night as the Belgian top seed went down 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-4) to Italian Francesca Schiavone.
The quarter-final upset marked the first defeat at the event for four-time titleholder Henin, who has also won two titles from three events played in 2008.
As she has done this week and at her last event this month in Antwerp, Henin got off to a slow start, losing the first set in 70 minutes against the 24th-ranked Schiavone.
The London-based Italian had lost all seven of her previous meeting with Henin. She moved into winning position with a set and two breaks but struggled to close out the win in two and a half hours.
Schiavone served for the win leading 5-2 in the second only to twice lose her serve. It went into a tiebreaker with Henin hoping to pull off a miracle.
But the Belgian's luck ran out with a double fault for 4-5 followed by a forehand error which gave the Italian two match points.
Schiavone was emotional after finally closing it out with a return which skimmed the sideline out of reach.
"I'm so happy, you don't know how much this means to me. It was a 50-50 match and I got the 51 per cent. To beat her you have to play well - and I did." The stunned Schiavone will play on Friday in a semi-final against the winner from third seed Ana Ivanovic and Russian Elena Dementieva. Jelena Jankovic faces Svetlana Kuznetsova in the other semi.