Apparently, Tracy forgot that Serena has 8 GS singles titles . Plus, why is it always about Venus and Serena with her? Didn't Justine win last night?
Venus, Serena still capable of catching Henin
But U.S. Open champion not about to easily hand over No. 1 spot
U.S. Open champ Justine Henin has grown as a player in part because she has matured off the court, msnbc.com contributor Tracy Austin writes.
By Tracy Austin
Updated: 3:36 a.m. ET Sept 9, 2007
NEW YORK - Justine Henin has established herself as the top player in women’s tennis as she did not lose a set en route to her second U.S. Open title and seventh major of her career. She also became the first woman to beat Serena and Venus Williams
in a major event, and then go on to win the title.
But both sisters are still capable of taking over at No. 1 if they are healthy and playing regularly on the WTA Tour.
It was simply too bad that neither one of the sisters was playing in the final for the fifth straight year. Remember, Serena prevailed against Venus in the 2002 final. During the first set of Henin’s 6-1, 6-3 victory in Super Saturday’s final vs. 22-year-old Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova, a fan cried “Let’s go Venus!”
Venus — who played well, but lost to Henin in the semis here — was allegedly (why didn't she just accuse the Williams family of lying) found to have anemia
after she emerged at Wimbledon and won as the No. 23 seed. Oracene Price, Venus’s mother and coach said following the Henin loss that matter was serious enough for Venus to visit the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota this week.
Serena, on the other hand, lost to Henin in the quarterfinal of a major for the third straight time. After that match, Serena said she needs to go back and “figure out” how to beat the Belgian. But keep in mind that Serena came to the Open having not played since her loss to Henin at Wimbledon due to a thumb injury. Does she know how to beat Henin? Yes! She did just that in a remarkable three-set triumph at the Key Biscayne event in March.
Champ deserves credit
Henin has held the No. 1 ranking for 81 weeks since she last won the U.S. Open in 2003, and relinquished the top spot for all but six weeks this season. Against Kuznetsova, the 2004 Open champ, Henin captured the first set by breaking Kuznetsova’s first serve before winning four straight. It was almost typical of the dominant run during the fortnight by Henin, who did not lose a set despite playing in the top-heavy portion of the women’s draw.
At 5-foot-5, Henin’s game certainly is not flashy or powerful. She did not lead the women’s draw in any statistical category, and had just 17 aces going into the final with her fastest serve clocked at 117 m.p.h. But make no mistake: Henin is a smart, crafty player, who clearly understands exactly how to hit a wide variety of shots and use all areas of the court.
Henin a changed woman
Henin has long had a reputation on the women’s tour for being an aloof, sometimes cold player. But she certainly showed more personality following her victory in the final. She ventured into the stands to hug her long-time coach Carlos Rodriguez (whom Henin thanked for making her a better person and player), and smiled broadly throughout the on-court ceremony.
Henin missed the Australian Open in January after separating from her husband. After that, she reconciled with her brothers David and Thomas and father Jose after David was in a car accident, which left him in a coma.
Rodriguez claims Henin has matured off the court. And I couldn’t agree more.
Nerves hamper Kuznetsova
Kuznetsova simply made too many mistakes — 29 unforced errors — and looked nervous throughout the match. Before the match, I felt the only way Kuznetsova had a chance was if she was able to break Henin’s serve early in the first set. Obviously, that did not happen. And afterwards, Kuznetsova seemed embarrassed after losing to Henin for the 15th time in 17 career matches. Her four games were the fewest by a U.S. Open runner-up in 31 years.
Kuznetsova is hardly a no-name player. Remember, she did win the title here in ’04 and was the runner-up at the 2006 French Open
, where she lost to Henin. And Kuznetsova, as a result of her showing at the Open, will rise to No. 2 in the next tour rankings.
Obviously, that’s a plus.
© 2007 MSNBC Interactive