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Bartoli stuns Henin to reach final

  • Story Highlights
  • Marion Bartoli of France will play Venus Williams in the Wimbledon final
  • Bartoli shocks world number one Justine Henin 1-6 7-5 6-1
  • Williams coasts to a 6-2- 6-4 victory over Serb Ana Ivanovic
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WIMBLEDON, England -- Marion Bartoli of France stunned world number one Justine Henin with a remarkable comeback victory to earn a place in the women's final at Wimbledon, where she will face three-time champion Venus Williams.

Bartoli hit back from a set and break down against the world number one.

Bartoli recovered from a torrid opening set to beat Henin 1-6 7-5 6-1 after Williams had had a comfortable 6-2 6-4 victory over sixth seeded Serb Ana Ivanovic.

Bartoli, 20th in the world, and Williams, now rated 31st, are the two lowest ranked finalists since the ranking system began in 1975.

Henin looked looked to be coasting into the final when she took the first set in just 22 minutes, but Bartoli gave the performance of a lifetime as she overwhelmed the Belgian with increasingly powerful and precise groundstrokes.

Bartoli had already beaten Serbian third seed Jelena Jankovic in the fourth round, but she easily surpassed that triumph to reach her first Grand Slam final.

The 22-year-old had never been past the fourth round of a Grand Slam before but, after initially looking nervous, she rose to the occasion on Centre Court in sensational style.

Beating Henin would have seemed difficult for Bartoli, but facing Williams could be an even more daunting proposition.

Williams gave a breath-taking display as she brushed aside Ana Ivanovic, the Serbian sixth seed, to make it to a Grand Slam final for the first time since winning Wimbledon in 2005.

The American is playing at the kind of level that made her the most feared player on the Tour in the early part of the decade.

She destroyed Maria Sharapova in the fourth round, tormented Svetlana Kuznetsova in the last eight and could easily overwhelm Bartoli is the Frenchwoman cannot repeat efforts against Henin.

Bartoli will at least go into the match with her confidence sky-high after battling back to oust Henin. She was initially outclassed as Henin cleverly moved her around the court in the first set.

She started to find some rhythm on her groundstrokes in the second set and made the decisive break in the 12th game to take the match to a decider.

Suddenly Henin began to show signs of losing her composure. Bartoli was playing every point as if it were her last and, throwing caution to the wind, she hit Henin off the court.

She took the first five games of the set as Henin staggered towards an embarrassing exit. When Bartoli got the chance to serve for the match, she could have let the situation get the better of her, but she closed it out in impressive fashion.

Bartoli's cool under duress was remarkable, but she put it all down to the presence of a former James Bond. Pierce Brosnan, who played the secret agent, was watching the match and Bartoli was inspired by the presence of the actor.

"I was so stressed in the first set because it was my first time on Centre Court, but then I saw Pierce Brosnan watching and he is one of my favorite actors," she said. "So I just started to play some good tennis for him.

"I hope he comes back on Saturday to bring me some more luck."

Williams had a far easier task as she turned on the style against Ivanovic to secure her sixth Wimbledon final appearance.

Although she was seeded 23rd due to her part-time presence on the WTA Tour, Williams made a mockery of the difference in rankings with a clinical victory.

"I felt like I played really well in the first set," said the 27-year-old who will be chasing her sixth career Grand Slam title.

"I didn't give her many chances but she stayed right in there and was a tough competitor. This will be my sixth final here and I'm really excited." E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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