"I will go away from this tournament with a lot of positives and a lot of learning."
Henin beats Serena Williams in Berlin final
May 12, 2002
BERLIN (TICKER) -- Justin Henin would not be denied.
The fifth-seeded Henin captured her first title of the year on Sunday, defeating American Serena Williams in the final at the $1.22 million German Open.
Henin needed three match points but was able to outlast the fourth-seeded Williams, 6-2, 1-6, 7-6 (7-5). Henin captured the $182,000 first prize at the Tier I event.
The 19-year-old Belgian who is ranked eighth in the world, Henin had lost her her previous three finals this year to Serena Williams' older sister, Venus.
Coming off a victory in the semifinals over world No. 2 Jennifer Capriati, Henin built a 4-2 lead over Williams in the third set and was still ahead 6-5 when she wasted two match points. But she hit a drop shot to end the match after two hours, 17 minutes.
"Today was a great match and a great victory especially winning with a tie break in the third," Henin said. "Serena played so well in the second set, she didn't give me a chance to play my game. In the third set, I tried to focus on what I had to do not on what she was doing. But it's difficult because she hits the ball really hard. But in the end, I believed I could do it."
Williams was denied her third crown of the season and 14th of her career. She already had taken hardcourt titles this year at Scottsdale and Miami, defeating Capriati in both finals.
"I made some mistakes and didn't get my first serve in," Williams said. "It's very strenous to play just with your second serve. She played some good shots and in the end I think it could've gone either way."
The 20-year-old Williams still has an impresssive 17-3 record in 2002.
"I'm not too disappointed," Williams said. "I will go away from this tournament with a lot of positive and a lot of learning. The whole week on clay was good and I'm feeling comfortable and getting ready for Rome and Roland Garros."