Henin to face Serena

Jan 28, 2010

I think it would be stating the obvious to point out the nice symmetry Henin’s path through the Australian Open has had with Clijsters’ epic return at the US Open. She finds herself in the final of the Australian Open, unseeded, and up against the world number no. 1 for the Open title. It promises to be a showdown.

Henin’s match against Zheng was short and not all too sweet from Zheng’s point of view. Zheng failed to get an upper hand on the Belgian, only managing one game in what was basically a demolition derby on the part of Henin. This confidence and power will be her greatest women about up and coming opponent, a player who didn’t exactly get the world no. 1 spot by playing nice.

Henin looked like she had never been away, and if Kim Clijsters hadn’t warmed us up to the possibility of such a miraculous turn, her advancement through the tournament would be even more astounding. It seems unlikely she will shy away from the challenge of ousting Williams to get to the title; in fact she seemed to be revelling in it.

Serena Williams had a bit of a trickier time with her semi-final opponent, Li Na. Na of China was hardly a pushover for the world no. 1, taking the score line to 7-6 7-6. Williams’ brutal strength appeared to be her ticket to a win, as well as some smart tennis that belied the heavy strapping on their thigh.

As for the tone of this promising final? Well, there is certainly an old rivalry between the two. They have played each other six times in Grand Slams, Henin coming out triumphant in four of the clashes. But this was no Rafa/Federer rivalry. The pairs relationship took a plummet after Williams accused Henin of cheating, claiming Henin took her first serve even when Williams indicated she wasn’t ready. There does, however, appear to be mutual respect between the pair as to each other’s talent. There were no pot shots in interviews, only a strong acknowledgement of each other’s talents.

What with the US Open providing us with an enthralling women’s final in 2009, and now this scintillating match-up, I hope we’re not just being spoilt by the fate’s. It would certainly be a shock to the system to go back to a Williams/Williams final at Wimbledon, for example. But with Henin a dab hand at winning the French Open and with Williams having survived the storm of her US Open outburst, who knows what the rest of the year will bring for women’s tennis?

- SophieG


Written by: SophieG

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