Peak Seles vs. Peak Henin at Roland Garros - TennisForum.com

View Poll Results: Seles or Henin?
Seles in 2 11 20.75%
Seles in 3 25 47.17%
Henin in 2 8 15.09%
Henin in 3 9 16.98%
Voters: 53. You may not vote on this poll

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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old Jan 3rd, 2009, 01:13 AM Thread Starter
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Peak Seles vs. Peak Henin at Roland Garros

Seles - 3 Titles
1989; SF (l. Graf)
1990; W (Graf)
1991; W (Sanchez-Vicario)
1992; W (Graf)

1996; QF (Novotna)
1997; SF (Hingis)
1998; F (Sanchez-Vacio)
1999; QF (Graf)
2000; QF (Pierce)

2002; QF (V. Williams)
2003; 1rd (Petrova)
Win/Loss: 53-8; 87%
Win/Loss: 21-0; 100% (pre-stabbing/peak)

Henin - 4 Titles
1999; 2nd (Davenport)
2001; SF (Clijsters)
2002; 1rd (Kapros)
2003; W (Clijsters)
2004; 2nd (Garbin)
2005: W (Pierce)
2006: W (Kuznetsova)
2007: W (Ivanovic)

Win/Loss: 35-4; 90%
Win/Loss: 29-1; 97% (Peak)

For Reference:

Chris Evert - 7 titles
Win/Loss: 71-6; 92%
Win/Loss: 65-3; 96% (Peak 1974-1986)

Steffi Graf - 6 titles
Win/Loss: 81-10; 89%
Win/Loss: 63-5; 93% (Peak 1987-1996)

Green - Denotes Eventual Champion
Blue - Denotes Eventual Finalist

Who wins this match? In terms of competition, Seles beat Graf and Sanchez-Vicario for her titles, two of the best clay court players of all time, particularly at Roland Garros. Henin never had that type of competition, however she did notch two wins over Serena, who has won RG in 2002.

I in all honesty think Seles in 2, maybe 3.

Quite frankly I think 2001 summer/not-as-fat Seles could beat Henin or at least make it close at her peak on clay at RG.

Last edited by CJ07; Jan 3rd, 2009 at 01:29 AM.
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old Jan 3rd, 2009, 01:15 AM
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Re: Peak Seles vs. Peak Henin at Roland Garros

Seles something like 6-4,2-6,6-3
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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old Jan 3rd, 2009, 01:24 AM
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Re: Peak Seles vs. Peak Henin at Roland Garros

Justine, 7-6 7-6.

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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old Jan 3rd, 2009, 01:43 AM
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Re: Peak Seles vs. Peak Henin at Roland Garros

Seles in three, she was an incredible competitor.

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I think with her serve and her athleticism, her power, her court mobility, I just think when she’s on, she’s the greatest player we’ve ever seen, ever. Now, whether her record is the greatest remains to be seen because she hasn’t retired yet. But I think she is really the greatest player. I have seen Martina and Steffi at their best. There are little chinks in those players’ armor, but it was a different era, where you didn’t need to be the perfect player.
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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old Jan 3rd, 2009, 02:54 AM
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Re: Peak Seles vs. Peak Henin at Roland Garros

justine, at the french open you need to play absolutely perfect to beat her and hope she plays less then 80%. She's proven that, and i consider her the highest level claycourter there ever was. (yes, better then graf and evert.) Her hybrid of power and skill was something WTA had never seen, combine that with HER tournament and you get someone who's practically unbeatable.

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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old Jan 3rd, 2009, 03:16 AM
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Re: Peak Seles vs. Peak Henin at Roland Garros

It's hard to pinpoint any matches where Henin handily beat a top clay courter at the French Open. Partly a function of era: with Seles and Graf gone, there was a big hole at the top for clay courters. Capriati wasn't really a true clay courter (although she's possibly the best home-grown American clay-court player since Evert), and none of the other Americans were great there. That leaves an old Pierce, and the relatively inexperienced Russian/Serb/Clijsters trio, and Serena twice.

Seles, by contrast, beat Graf, Sabatini, Sanchez, and Martinez right when they were at their very best. I mean...the quality of opposition on the tour in general may be higher today, but the quality of the top players on CLAY specifically was much, MUCH higher back in the early 90s. Evert had gone, but Graf and others filled the clay void very well.

It's hard to say because the general quality has lifted a little and they aren't that far off in terms of ability, but I still think Seles had far better angles on her shots than anyone Henin ever played on clay. I have trouble believing that Seles would get discouraged by Henin's occasional monster backhands, and you just KNOW Seles could wreck Henin's serve. A lot of the strong points of Henin's game (forehand, movement, variety off the back) are things Seles was particularly good at countering.
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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old Jan 3rd, 2009, 03:19 AM
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Re: Peak Seles vs. Peak Henin at Roland Garros

Quote:
Originally Posted by DragonFlame View Post
justine, at the french open you need to play absolutely perfect to beat her and hope she plays less then 80%. She's proven that, and i consider her the highest level claycourter there ever was. (yes, better then graf and evert.) Her hybrid of power and skill was something WTA had never seen, combine that with HER tournament and you get someone who's practically unbeatable.
Serena was 5 points from taking her out in 2003 before she cheated, so she isn't that unbeatable. But you do need to be at your best.
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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old Jan 3rd, 2009, 03:41 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Peak Seles vs. Peak Henin at Roland Garros

Seles also had match points on Henin in 2003 and had a 4-3 head to head advantage.

I agree also on her competition. Henin really didn't have to do anything special to win her majors their. I mean Pierce? Kuznetsova? Ivanovic?

Not on the same league as having to beat Graf twice and Sanchez-Vicario even.
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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old Jan 3rd, 2009, 03:43 AM
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Re: Peak Seles vs. Peak Henin at Roland Garros

Yep, Seles in 3 probably.

Henin rarely even played good or great tennis in Paris. She just had a lame-ass lack of competition, especially from 2005-2007. At least she beat Serena in 2003 and 2007. But usually she just had to be steady to win.
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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old Jan 3rd, 2009, 04:46 AM
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Re: Peak Seles vs. Peak Henin at Roland Garros

ooooo tough call..im going to go with seles ever so slightly...and i think serena earlier on was just as good as justine...2003 was reallllly tough
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post #11 of 24 (permalink) Old Jan 3rd, 2009, 05:59 AM
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Re: Peak Seles vs. Peak Henin at Roland Garros

Justine in three sets
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post #12 of 24 (permalink) Old Jan 3rd, 2009, 06:40 AM
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Re: Peak Seles vs. Peak Henin at Roland Garros

I picked Seles in 3, but I could definitely see her beating her in 2 as well. I think peak Seles was nearly unstoppable on clay and hard courts. Even Graf couldn't beat Seles when she was at her peak, so if she couldn't do it, then how the hell is Henin going to do it? The only person I see as possibly being able to beat peak Seles on clay is Evert.

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post #13 of 24 (permalink) Old Jan 3rd, 2009, 08:29 PM
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Re: Peak Seles vs. Peak Henin at Roland Garros

Seles in 3. No question. She would destroy the ball. Henin is good on clay but ... Seles is better.
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post #14 of 24 (permalink) Old Jan 3rd, 2009, 09:42 PM
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Re: Peak Seles vs. Peak Henin at Roland Garros

I'd pay good money to see that one - I honestly don't know who would win and as people have said it's hard to gage what Henin did at RG because of the lack of competition. Such is the void left by Henin retiring that there isn't going to be a favourite for RG and if I was someone like Paola Suarez I'd play Australia and then go practise my ass off on the clay because if she did she could even become a contender this year, as crazy as that sounds, because she has the natural abililty and movement on the surface to go far!

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post #15 of 24 (permalink) Old Jan 3rd, 2009, 09:50 PM
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Re: Peak Seles vs. Peak Henin at Roland Garros

Actually did Paola retire?

RIP Elena Baltacha, thank you for dedicating your life to a sport we all love. You'll be missed but never forgotten.
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