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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old Mar 31st, 2007, 01:39 AM Thread Starter
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Henin vs. Williams article

By: Sandra Harwitt
The Sony Ericsson Open has a long and rich history of featuring top quality matches.

Today’s women’s final continues that exciting tradition as the two top players on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour this season will compete for the Sony Ericsson Open title.

World No. 1 Justine Henin is looking for her first career trophy here at Miami, while Serena Williams is hoping to pull in her fourth Sony Ericsson Open trophy. The two have practically identical winning records this season – Henin is 15-1 while Williams is 14-1 heading into the championship match this afternoon.

Let’s take a look at the 24-year-old Henin.

The Belgium is a highly accomplished player with five career Grand Slam titles to her credit. While Maria Sharapova started the tournament with a threat of overtaking the top ranking, when she lost in the fourth-round, Henin was safe for a 59th career week at No. 1. She was the 13th player to earn the right to be called No. 1.

Henin has won 31 career titles and also had the privilege of winning the Olympic gold medal in 2004.

Henin skipped playing the opening month of 2007 for personal reasons, and needed some time for adjustment. She reached the semifinals at her first tournament of the year at the Paris Indoors event and then won the title at both Dubai and Doha. As she heads into today’s final, she’s on a 2007 tour-best 13-match winning streak.

The Belgian is a very impressive player on the court and while she’s certainly one of the slightest women in the game these days, she packs quite a punch on her shots.

The worry about Henin is that she claims to not be feeling all that well in recent weeks, explaining that she’s been having some trouble breathing. It’s hard to play against someone who is as on top of her game as Serena is this year without being at 100 percent.

Now let’s talk about Serena Williams.

After being sidelined for most of the 2006 season with injury, Williams has returned to the tour this year with a plan of winning everything in her sights.
She started the year with a quarterfinal showing at the Hobart tournament before scoring her eighth Grand Slam title at the Australian Open.

In all, she has won 27 titles, won six Grand Slam doubles trophies with big sis Venus Williams, and won two Grand Slam mixed doubles titles with Max Mirnyi.

Henin might have become the 13th woman in history to reach No. 1, but Serena was ahead of her as she became the 11th woman to be ranked No. 1, a distinction she held for 57 weeks.

She started this season ranked very low at No. 95, was unseeded when she won the Australian Open, and is now ranked No. 18. If she wins today’s Sony Ericsson Open final over Henin, Williams will move up to No. 11. If she loses against Henin, she’ll go up to No. 12. But fans can anticipate that Serena Williams will be back in the top 10 sooner than later.

There are a number of factors that work in Williams favor as these two accomplished players head into the final.

One is that Williams considers this tournament home turf – she lives just a little over an hour away in Palm Beach Gardens. She’s has an impressive 40-5 winning record at the tournament. In comparison, this has not been a favorite stop for Henin, who finds March a difficult month as it is the time of the year that her mother died of cancer when she was 12. She has not played here steadily and only has a 12-5 win-loss record coming into the final.

A second advantage for Williams is that she holds a 5-3 winning edge over Henin in career matches and has only lost to the Belgian on clay.

A third thing to make note of is that Henin admits to not feeling her best and is looking a bit tired. Now to be honest, we’ve seen this from Justine before and she has made it through matches unscathed. But I can assure you that Serena is feeling on top of the world and ready to go.

This match has the potential to be a top quality encounter, but when the last ball is struck, it’s more than likely that Williams will be the winner.



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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old Mar 31st, 2007, 02:11 AM
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Re: Henin vs. Williams article

Serena is the favorite. meaning she will lose. This year has been upset after upset.
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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old Mar 31st, 2007, 02:33 AM
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Re: Henin vs. Williams article

Gosh, I sure hope you are wrong. Won't it be something if Serena beats Justine, the number one player, after beating Sharapova when she was number one?
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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old Mar 31st, 2007, 02:37 AM
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Re: Henin vs. Williams article

I still think the article draws the line.

I just think it's unprofessional for any sports writer to write down an advantage for one player is being that another player's family member happen ed to die around this time years ago.

If any sports writer would have written that for the Serena/Mauresmo match last year, that the advantage goes to Mauresmo because Serena's sister Yetunde died around this time years ago, there would have been a catastrophic uproar on this forum.

The writer of this article could have easily presented an advantage without bringing up that topic.

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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old Mar 31st, 2007, 02:45 AM
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Re: Henin vs. Williams article

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wannabeknowitall View Post
I still think the article draws the line.

I just think it's unprofessional for any sports writer to write down an advantage for one player is being that another player's family member happen ed to die around this time years ago.
If the sports writer, in their capacity as analyst, feels such an issue might genuinely affect the outcome of the event, it would be unprofessional NOT to write about it.

There are ways to approach such issues tactfully.

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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old Mar 31st, 2007, 02:55 AM
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Re: Henin vs. Williams article

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Originally Posted by Volcana View Post
If the sports writer, in their capacity as analyst, feels such an issue might genuinely affect the outcome of the event, it would be unprofessional NOT to write about it.

There are ways to approach such issues tactfully.
In this case I doubt that Justine's mother's death is a factor into how Justine has struggled at Miami.
The tournament doesn't have favorable conditions for Justine's game.

The wind, the humidity, the medium pace hard courts, and its closeness to the clay season, all are factors into why she struggles here.
Not everyone likes playing Miami.
Lindsay played well here a couple of years but Miami wasn't something she particularly enjoyed.

If this tournament wasn't mandatory, Justine would probably skip it for preparation for the clay season.

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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old Mar 31st, 2007, 03:17 AM
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Re: Henin vs. Williams article

Actually, Serena is seeded #13 I think and Justine is seeded #2 so Justine IS the favorite in this match.

More than half of Serena's opponents this year have been favorites on paper,
but NOT in reality.
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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old Mar 31st, 2007, 03:20 AM
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Re: Henin vs. Williams article

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wannabeknowitall View Post
In this case I doubt that Justine's mother's death is a factor into how Justine has struggled at Miami.
According to Justine, it is.
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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old Mar 31st, 2007, 03:24 AM
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Re: Henin vs. Williams article

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Originally Posted by manatee View Post
Serena is the favorite. meaning she will lose. This year has been upset after upset.
who do you think has been "upsetting" everyone?

serena, of course.

in terms of ranking, serena would be the one to upset henin because she is the lower ranked player. that is generally how we determine an "upset."
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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old Mar 31st, 2007, 03:25 AM
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Re: Henin vs. Williams article

if justlyin loses, her supporters will say, 'it's a difficult time of the year for her.' or 'she wasn't feeling well.'
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post #11 of 24 (permalink) Old Mar 31st, 2007, 03:56 AM
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Re: Henin vs. Williams article

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Originally Posted by gmokb View Post
Gosh, I sure hope you are wrong. Won't it be something if Serena beats Justine, the number one player, after beating Sharapova when she was number one?
Sharapova was still number 2 back then, she only bacame number 1 the following week, I don't know why people keep thinking she was number one

Go Brazilian girls!
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post #12 of 24 (permalink) Old Mar 31st, 2007, 04:04 AM
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Re: Henin vs. Williams article

Henin is a human being. In the old days it was evident that personal life events effected (for example) Martina and Chris and Billie Jean's performance on court. As Chris once said after a double bagel of Martina in the early 80's, "Her game won't come together until her life comes together." The same proved true for Chris as she had fidelity issues in her marriage and saw Martina whip her a** 13 times in a row before she got it back together.

Based on that, why wouldn't Henin's personal life be an issue. On the other hand, didn't Serena and Venus take a break from the tour after their sister's murder! They needed to deal with that issue.

Personally, whatever Henin's personal issues are at present, I think that she will use them to make her stronger. Her husband is history, so she can put all of her emotions into the tour. Her mother died this month, but before her mom died, she took Justine to the French Open where Justine promised to win the tournmanet one day. Why wouldn't Justine also think of her mother to make her stronger in solidifying her number 1 position!

Serena has the worry of a post surgery knee that's sore to work her emotions. Will it hold up when she needs it most against the BEST player on the tour? Even if it does hurt (as it did against Vaidisova), Serena can use her emotions to overcome the pain. So even that could work for her.

The article was interesting and posed some interesting theories. Me, I follow my own.

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post #13 of 24 (permalink) Old Mar 31st, 2007, 05:31 AM
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Re: Henin vs. Williams article

The rankings of the two contenders mean about as much as the seedings at this point: squat.

It's only logical to consider Serena the favorite going into this match; I do.

OTOH, it's illogical to compare tomorrow's matchup against Justine to really any of the other players Serena has beaten thus far. They were all pretty much bangers like her who gave her the pace she so loves and allowed her to use the running game which makes her so lethal. HINT: Don't expect Justine to give Serena anything approaching continuity tomorrow.

My recipe for a Justine victory: slice, slice, and more slice. Keep Serena in reverse and you'll have plenty of opportunities to go forward.

Should be a good match.

May the best tennis player win!

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post #14 of 24 (permalink) Old Mar 31st, 2007, 05:52 AM
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Re: Henin vs. Williams article

Quote:
Originally Posted by JustineTime View Post
My recipe for a Justine victory: slice, slice, and more slice. Keep Serena in reverse and you'll have plenty of opportunities to go forward.
Well, that, and make Serena hit lots of backhands, short and wide. Serena's open-stance on her backhand side puts more pressure on that left knee.

There was a period of several games mid-1st set and the beginning of the second set of the Peer match when Serena began spraying backhands.
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post #15 of 24 (permalink) Old Mar 31st, 2007, 06:06 AM
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Re: Henin vs. Williams article

I am looking forward to this final as well, may be the best we have seen in some time. What Serena must do to prevail is: 1. pin justine on the baseline. 2. loop high balls to her backhand and serve kickers to her backhand side. 3. Come to net while she scrambles. 4. attack her second serve. 5. Take away time, Serena should use pace to limit execution of Justine's loopy forehand and backhand strokes.

Beat'em down Ms Williams, beat'em down!
SERENA PRINCESS OF POWER

Victoria Duval - coming to a slam near you
Françoise Abanda definitely a future #1 --- Taylor Townsend devastation on the march
Venus and Serena ferocious grannies --- Kimiko Date Krumm great granny still doing her thing.
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