Maria the one to beat after finishing off Henin in quarterfinal match

WTA’s Maria SharapovaJan. 22, 2008 – Those hoping the Australian Open quarter-final between Justine Henin and Maria Sharapova would be as exciting as the pair’s last meeting, got something less than fireworks at Melbourne Park on Day 9.

Henin and Sharapova, who have nine Grand Slam titles between them, last met in the Tour Championships final in Madrid, with the Belgian emerging victorious from a match which lasted three hours and 24 minutes, the longest in the Open era.

Both players entered the match in impeccable form but Sharapova was unstoppable this time as she steamrolled Henin 6-4 6-0 in 98 minutes, inflicting the Belgian’s first loss in 33 matches since the semi-finals of last year’s Wimbledon Championships.

If Sharapova can reproduce that effort against Jelena Jankovic, who beat defending champ Serena Williams earlier in the day,  there may be no stopping her collecting a maiden Australian Open crown.

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