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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old Jun 7th, 2007, 01:41 AM Thread Starter
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Serena feels ‘violated’ after loss to Justine

Serena feels ‘violated’ after loss to Justine
NEIL HARMAN

Four years ago it was Belgium, a small nation in Europe, that stormed the Roland Garros ramparts as Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters won their respective semi-finals and made it a date on finals day. On Thursday, it will be the turn of Serbia, another small nation in Europe, to dare to contemplate what would, a decade ago, have been inconceivable.

Thoughts inevitably turn to another small nation in Europe that has imported the best brains Belgian tennis has had to offer and not so long ago was ready to offer the world to Serbia’s finest male player, Novak Djokovic, to give it all up for the Union Flag. Might we, one day, see two British women in the semi-finals of the most arduous of the Grand Slam tournaments? Well, if Belgium and Serbia can do it...

Maria Sharapova is Russia’s contribution to the semi-final line-up and it would take a brave man to invest much cash on a final that did not involve her and Henin, who beat Serena Williams 6-4, 6-3, the result of a performance lacking so much in lustrous definition that Serena felt obliged to deliver the quote of the year: “I didn’t do anything I was supposed to do, I just pretty much stood back and let her take advantage of me. And I feel violated.” With that, she collected her bags and left.

There was no violation, just a tennis lesson and Serena thought that she had given up those when she left Compton, California, in her teens to take on and beat the world.

Henin’s performance was fabulous, full of subtle, dextrous, angled strokes as she generated power off the ground that requires precise timing, brilliant technique and vivid imagination. Serena was forever a pace short and Henin sensed that, after the first set, her confidence was crushed.

And it was, in the Belgian’s words, “a correct match”. This time there was no need for outside interference, although Serena could have done with a few helpful hints on how to deal with a pesky thing that buzzes around you and every time you try to swat it, it escapes.

Serena became angry with her ineptitude but never let it show to the extent that the crowd felt inclined to vent its ire. If anything, she was confronted with a compassionate audience, which is not something she deals with that often.

The day’s most eye-catching performance was that of Ana Ivanovic, the 19-year-old from Belgrade who beat Svetlana Kuznetsova, last year’s finalist and the third-best player in the world, 6-0, 3-6, 6-1.

Sets one and three were tennis of the picture-perfect variety — much like the dark-haired, dark-skinned teenager herself. Having begun her tennis career by memorising the number for the local club that flashed up on her TV screen at home, she is no longer here simply to make up the numbers.

At 17, she lost tamely to Nadia Petrova, of Russia, at this stage, but that fright has gone. Ivanovic has blossomed and the manner in which she unleashed her groundstrokes spoke volumes for her confidence.

It was a masterstroke to add Sven Groeneveld, the Dutchman regarded as one of the finest coaches in the sport who had two spells working with Greg Rusedski, to her team.

Groeneveld is a roving consultant for any player who wears Adidas apparel. Indeed, his portfolio includes Ivanovic, Maria Kirilenko, of Russia, and two men, Fernando Verdasco, of Spain, and Jürgen Melzer, of Austria, the last of whom happens to be the date of Nicole Vaidisova (who lost to Jankovic in straight sets on Wednesday).

Of Ivanovic, Groeneveld said: “There is an ocean of talent there, a lot of power, she has been through plenty of storms and I’ve tried to help her to settle down, to get some stability and consistency back into her tennis. The best coach is someone who listens and based on the information that players give you, give them the best advice you can.”

THE TIMES, LONDON

Last edited by ptburrows; Jun 7th, 2007 at 02:21 AM.
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old Jun 7th, 2007, 08:22 AM
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Re: Serena feels ‘violated’ after loss to Justine

An all Serbian final would be huge!
but hopefully Justine will beat Jelena.

Graf-Pierce-Henin
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old Jun 7th, 2007, 09:36 AM
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Re: Serena feels ‘violated’ after loss to Justine

Thanks! Interesting article.

Ju Henin Tamaryn Hendler Yanina Wickmayer Kim Clijsters
* Justine De Sutter * Marie Benoit * Klaartje Liebens * Kim Stubbe *


* Patty Schnyder * Dinara Safina * Elena Dementieva * Vika Azarenka * Katarina Srebotnik * Dominica Cibulkova * Ashley Harkleroad * Sabine Lisicki * Nicole Vaidisova * Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova * Sesil Karatantcheva *
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