New role for Henin-Hardenne: Serena's chief nemesis -
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 1 (permalink) Old Jun 6th, 2003, 07:14 AM Thread Starter
Senior Member
tennisIlove09's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 44,078
New role for Henin-Hardenne: Serena's chief nemesis

New role for Henin-Hardenne: Serena's chief nemesis

By STEVEN WINE, AP Sports Writer
June 5, 2003
PARIS (AP) -- She's John McEnroe's favorite player. She has the most beautiful backhand in Belgium -- or anywhere else. And now she's Serena Williams' No. 1 nemesis.

Justine Henin-Hardenne ended Williams' one-year domination of major events by beating her 6-2, 4-6, 7-5 Thursday in the semifinals of the French Open.

It was the first loss for Williams in her past 34 Grand Slam matches, but her second straight loss to Henin-Hardenne. Williams was 21-0 this year before the Belgian beat her at Charleston, S.C., in April.


Williams will remain No. 1 next week, but there's been a slight shift in the balance of power.

``I hope things are going to change,'' Henin-Hardenne said. ``She remains a great champion, very difficult to beat. So it's early to say anything. But the gap is becoming smaller.''

One indication: On Saturday, Roland Garros will host the first Grand Slam final since the 2002 Australian Open featuring someone other than the Williams sisters.

Instead, it will be the first all-Belgian Grand Slam final, with the No. 4-seeded Henin-Hardenne facing No. 2 Kim Clijsters.

``Belgian people have to be going crazy,'' Henin-Hardenne said.

``A real Belgian slam,'' Clijsters said.

Henin-Hardenne will be hard-pressed to surpass her inspired performance in the semifinals.

Williams may be the biggest, strongest, fastest, best-hitting player on the women's tour, as Andre Agassi said Tuesday. But Henin-Hardenne was more relaxed, moved better and showed more patience and consistency with her shots.

She whipped that one-handed backhand for winners -- and did the same with her forehand. She wavered serving at 5-4 in the final set, double-faulting twice and losing the game at love, then steadied and won the final two games.

Fans on center court rooted for Henin-Hardenne as if she were French, while also crossing the lines of tennis etiquette by cheering Williams' mistakes.

Henin-Hardenne was diplomatic when asked about the fan behavior.

``The crowd gave me all the support I need to win,'' she said. ``I say thank you to them, but it's true that sometimes it was a little bit too much.''

Loyalties will be more evenly divided Saturday, when Henin-Hardenne plays in her second Grand Slam final. Venus Williams beat her to win the 2001 Wimbledon title.

Henin-Hardenne was then 19 and beginning just her third year on the women's tour. Last week she turned 21 -- old enough to have her biography published (with a foreword by McEnroe), and old enough to know that a semifinal victory over Williams doesn't justify a big celebration.

``The tournament is not finished,'' she said. ``There's still a match to be played on Saturday.''

Henin-Hardenne was just 12 when her mother died of cancer, and in a profession where arrested development can be a problem, she has always stressed the importance of keeping perspective.

``It's fantastic to beat Serena in the French Open,'' she said. ``But there are many other important things in life. At times you're living good or bad times. That may be more important. The day when I got married was the nicest day of my life. I cannot compare that to a victory like today's.''

Updated on Thursday, Jun 5, 2003 3:45 p
tennisIlove09 is offline  

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome