Henin-Hardenne in WTA semis; Mauresmo, Clijsters roll

MADRID, Spain -- Amelie Mauresmo won't have the top ranking after Sunday, but she can still retain her WTA Championships title after beating Martina Hingis 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 on Thursday.

Mauresmo's defeat of the former two-time winner Hingis set up a final Yellow Group match with Justine Henin-Hardenne that Mauresmo must win to advance to the semifinals.

"For me, I need to go out and win that match. It's the only solution for me to qualify," Mauresmo said.

Henin-Hardenne reached the semis with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Nadia Petrova.

Henin-Hardenne's group record is 2-0, Mauresmo's 1-1, and Petrova and Hingis are each 1-2.

No. 3-ranked Henin-Hardenne is focused not on finishing ranked No. 1, but on winning her first WTA Championships title.

"I will play with the goal to go into the final not to be No. 1," she said. "Right now I'm in the semifinal, and it's going to be another tough match for me for sure. But I don't want to look that far."

Kim Clijsters, who won the event in 2002 and 2003, cruised past Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-1, 6-1 in 44 minutes in the only Red Group match.

Maria Sharapova tops the group at 2-0, with Kuznetsova and Clijsters at 1-1, and Elena Dementieva 0-2.

The No. 1 ranking could also fall to second-ranked Sharapova, the 2004 champ who needs to win the tournament and have Henin-Hardenne lose in the semifinals.

Hingis broke Mauresmo three times in winning the first set. But Mauresmo pumped herself up with some great shots and won 10 of the next 11 games.

"I wasn't able really to close out the match like I really wanted to today, but I still won and I'm still alive in the group," Mauresmo said.

Petrova started strong against Henin-Hardenne, breaking the Belgian's serve for an early 2-0 lead. But Henin-Hardenne broke right back and the French Open champion took a 3-2 lead on a second break opportunity with a backhand passing shot down the line.

Henin-Hardenne scored the decisive break in the seventh game of the second set to take a 4-3 lead, then saved a break point to hold at 5-3.

Henin-Hardenne stayed a perfect 6-0 indoors in 2006, and matched her best result at the championships. She also reached the semifinals in 2003.

No. 6-ranked Clijsters broke No. 4 Kuznetsova five times while committing only four unforced errors to Kuznetsova's 20.

"I got that first break in the first set and you gain confidence and it helps you play like that," Clijsters said. "I was seeing the ball today -- yesterday against Maria I had trouble following the ball."

On Friday, Sharapova will face Kuznetsova, and Clijsters takes on Dementieva to determine the semifinalists from the Red Group.