It’s here! Despite some rough goings and surprise results, tennis fans are getting the blockbuster Australian Open final we expect and deserve: Serena Williams vs. Justine Henin.
JuJu vs. ReRe, Belgium vs. U.S.A., “The Hand” vs. “The Throat”, the artiste vs. the power player, the scrapper vs. the warrior, unseeded Wild Card vs. World No. 1. However you call it, it’s The Best vs. The Best.
“She pushed me in the past to be at my best,” Justine said of Serena on Friday. “And I’m sure it’s gonna be the case again tomorrow.”
With a kowtow to Venus at Wimbledon and a coy wink at Martina Hingis in case she un-retires – Serena and Justine are the best players of their generation. Serena has 11 Major singles titles, including a “Serena Slam.” Justine has 7, won everywhere but Wimbledon. Serena holds a 7-6 edge in their overall head-to-head, but Henin leads 4-2 in Majors, including their last three meetings. Here’s how the Big Ones turned out:
JUSTINE HENIN VS. SERENA WILLIAMS HEAD-TO-HEAD IN MAJOR TOURNAMENTS
2001 US Open Rd. of 16: Williams wins 7-5, 6-0
2003 French Open Semis: Henin wins 6-2, 4-6, 7-5
2003 Wimbledon Semis: Williams wins 6-3, 6-2
2007 French Open Quarters: Henin wins 6-4, 6-3
2007 Wimbledon Quarters: Henin wins 6-4, 3-6, 6-3
2007 US Open Quarters: Henin wins 7-6(3), 6-1
Let’s write the next line. . .
Despite their long and tumultuous history, Saturday marks a fresh start for the rivalry, on new turf. They’ve never met at the Australian Open or in any Major final. Serena’s weary but confident – winning the doubles title with sister Venus on Friday had to be a boost. Justine has spent less time on court, but is still readjusting to the intensity of Big Match competition.
“I think it’ll be a defining match for both of us.” Serena said of the final.
True, which is why Serena has more to lose. She’s the self-proclaimed “Real No. 1,” after all. And the woman who suffered a public breakdown while being dismantled by another unseeded Belgian at the US Open. Someone as “passionate” as Serena won’t want to replicate that experience, in any way, shape or form. It’s Justine’s bad luck that she’s lined up after Clijsters.
2010 Australian Open Order of Play Day 13: Saturday, January 30
Rod Laver Arena
Junior Boys’ Singles Finals: Sean Berman(AUS) vs. Tiago Fernandes(BRA)
Junior Girls’ Singles Finals: Laura Robson(GBR) vs. Karolina Pliskova(CZE)
Not Before 19:30
Women’s Singles Finals: Serena Williams(USA) vs. Justine Henin(BEL)
Men’s Doubles Finals: Bob Bryan(USA) /Mike Bryan(USA) vs. Daniel Nestor(CAN) /Nenad Zimonjic(SRB)