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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Henin, Sharapova Target Serbia's Rising Young Stars

APThe all-round game of tournament-favorite Henin was too much for Williams.
PARIS -- Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic face formidable hurdles in the women's semifinals at Roland Garros on Thursday if they are to set up an unlikely all-Serbian showdown for the Suzanne Lenglen trophy.

Belgian dynamo Justine Henin, gunning for a fourth French title in five years, stands in the way of fourth seed Jankovic while Ivanovic, the youngest of the semifinalists, faces second seed Maria Sharapova.

Henin has not dropped a set here since the fourth round in 2005, since when she has been unstoppable on the Parisian clay.

Jankovic, 22, has lost all five previous meetings with Henin, three of them this year, although on four occasions she managed to win the first set.

Though her record against Henin does not augur well, the tenacious Jankovic is enjoying the best form of her career, collecting three titles this year, and she has fully lived up to a pre-tournament billing as a serious title contender.

"I've never beaten her before, but I will try and find a way somehow to win," she said. "I think I can do it, it's just a matter of staying concentrated and being mentally tough.

"Physically, I feel great and I'm moving well on clay."

Jankovic sometimes seems to have telescopic arms on clay, such is her ability to retrieve from the baseline, and she will certainly get the runaround from Henin.

The Belgian's fizzing spins and angles were too much for Serena Williams in the quarterfinals and she appears in the mood to emulate the hat trick of titles last achieved here by Monica Seles.

She is wary of Jankovic, however.

"I was very close to losing to her last time. She fights a lot, she doesn't seem to feel pressure," Henin said.

World No. 2 Sharapova's progress here has been surprising; she needed a cortisone injection in her right shoulder and had hardly played since March.

Her one-dimensional baseline power game can appear poorly-adapted for claycourts and she describes her movement on the surface as like a "cow on ice," but what she does possess is an almost fanatical will to win.

She saved two match points against Swiss Patty Schnyder in a fourth-round battle when most of the Center Court crowd was against her. She then overpowered fellow 20-year-old Russian Anna Chakvetadze to reach her first French semifinal.

Ivanovic, who will play her first Grand Slam semifinal, has a similarly powerful game to Sharapova if not the experience, but appears to thrive on the big stage.

"There will be a lot of emotions, playing a semifinal," the 19-year-old said. "But it's important I keep those inside.

"Reaching the quarters here [in 2005] was an unbelievable experience ... but I feel much more comfortable now."