French Open 2007: Andrew's TV-reports (QF + SF + Final) -
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French Open 2007: Andrew's TV-reports (QF + SF + Final)

ROLAND GARROS (Paris, France; red clay; Grand Slam)

1. Photos & videos
2. First-round result
3. Second-round result
4. Third-round result
5. Fourth-round result
6. Quarter-final TV-report: Ivanović v Kuznetsova
7. Semi-final draw
8. Semi-final preview: Sharapova v Ivanović
9. Women's Doubles: First round
10. Order of play for Thursday

1. Photos & videos (Ana-filtered)
1.1 Photos

Ana Ivanović:
Search Getty Images for "ivanovic"

More of Ana and others: (3r, 4r, qf) (First round - day 4, Second round - day 2, Third round - day 2, Fourth round - day 1, Quarterfinals - day 1)

1.2 Videos

Quarter-final press-conferences:

2. First-round result (Wednesday 30th May)

+ ANA IVANOVIĆ [7,DF] d. Sofia Arvidsson [LL], 6-2 6-0

3. Second-round result (Thursday 31st May)
(7) Ana Ivanovic (SRB) vs. Sania Mirza (IND) - First Meeting

Thursday's Court 1 clash between Ivanovic and Mirza will see two of the game's most gifted young players go head-to-head for a place in the third round. Ivanovic has enjoyed a fantastic last few months, seeing her rise to a career-high world ranking of No.7 and culminating with the capture of her second Tier I title in Berlin. On Wednesday the 19-year-old carried on from where she left off in the German capital, producing a supreme display of clay court tennis to defeat Swedish lucky loser Sofia Arvidsson. Mirza also impressed during her first round, dropping just two games against Alberta Brianti on the way to recording her first ever victory at Roland Garros. The pair has never met before, but one thing is for certain, if they can reproduce the form they displayed in the opening round, the crowds on Court 1 are in for a real treat.

Nice winner, nice loser:
+ ANA IVANOVIĆ [7,DF] d. Sania Mirza [DF], 6-1 6-4

Sania: "I had [knee-]surgery almost three months ago, and this is my third tournament back. I probably could have done a few things better, but I guess that's where the lack of match-practice comes into play. It has been a long process. We worked very hard in the gym the last couple of months. But I'm hitting the ball okay. Clay is not my favourite surface, so I'm looking forward to the grass-season."

4. Third-round result (Saturday 2nd June)

+ ANA IVANOVIĆ [7,DF] d. Ioana Raluca Olaru [Q], 6-2 6-0

5. Fourth-round result (Sunday 3rd June)


6. Quarter-final TV-report: Ivanović v Kuznetsova (Tuesday 5th June)


I saw the match on BBCi, and while this was not my first time to watch Ana play, it was my first time to watch her play /well/. And she was quite brilliant, especially in the first set!

So I have to ask myself why I don't induct Ana into my Eternal Fanship. Two things are required to induct any player: Passion and Reason. In Ana's case, my Reason says I should induct her, but although I like her a lot, I just don't have sufficient Passion to follow her with the same level of dedication as my Eternal Fanship.

The match started at 12:10 CEST.

First set
IVANOVIĆ @*@*@* 6
KUZNETSO ______ 0

Kuznetsova serving 0-0: Ana netted a backhand. 15/0. Ana crosscourt forehand winner. Sam Smith: "Very flat hitter. Can hit winners from anywhere on the court with her forehand. Very [iure striker." 30/0. Ana netted. 40/0. Kuznetsova forehand long after taking the initiative. 15/40. Ana broke with an error-forcing off-forehand.

Ana serving 1-0: Ana crosscourt forehand winner. 15/0. Ana ran around her backhand to hit a forehand winner down Kuznetsova's forehand-line. 30/0. Kuznetsova backhand winner down the line. 30/15. Ana forehand volley-winner after hitting a forehand that looked long. 40/15. Ana hit a rocketing forehand winner down the line after losing the early initiative from a good one-two punch.

Wow - a terrific start from Ana! This is the kind of tennis I've always read about from Ana, but never before seen on TV as I've only seen her bad days before.

Sam Smith: "Improved footwork, consistenct, fitness. But weak defensively. Forehand looks gigantic."

Kuznetsova serving 0-2: Ana backhand long (forced by depth). 15/0. A good wide return forced Kuznetsova into error. 15/15. Kuznetsova netted a backhand. 15/30. Kuznetsova's backhand clipped the netcord and fell back on her side. 15/40 (2 BPs). Ana's backhand return clipped the netcord and fell back on her side. 30/40. Kuznetsova's backhand floated just wide.

Ana serving 3-0: Kuznetsova netted a tame backhand. 15/0. Kuznetsova forehand volley-winner, set up by a searing crosscourt backhand. 15/15. Kuznetsova sprayed a forehand wide. 30/15. Kuznetsova crosscourt forehand winner. Sam Smith: "Completely different shot to Ivanović's - loaded with spin, but can be equally effective." 30/30. Ana backhand long. 30/40. Ana took the initiative and hit a forehand smash-winner. Sam Smith: "Her transition-game has improved." 40/40. Ace down the middle. Ad Ana. Service-winner out wide.

Ana is playing just her 10th Grand Slam, Kuznetsova her 20th.

Kuznetsova serving 0-4: Ana hit a forehand return-winner down the line of amazing power! 0/15. Ana forehand return long by a whisker. 15/15. Kuznetsova hit a forehand smash long - a comically-bad error! 15/30. Kuznetsova hit a dreadful forehand halfway up the net. 15/40 (2 BPs). Kuznetsova hit a ragged backhand long to remain on course for the double bagel.

Sam Smith [re. Ana]: "There's some /safety/ in her play. Very much in control."

Ana serving 5-0: Kuznetsova netted a forehand. 15/0. Ana's depth forced Kuznetsova to net a forehand. Sam Smith: "She's feeding the beast - Ivanović's forehand." 30/0. Kuznetsova netted a backhand. 40/0 (3 SPs). Serve out wide + backhand winner down the line. Ana won the first set 6-0 at 12:32.

The Eternal-Fanship question is going through my head right now, so soon after I contemplated inducting Lucie Šafářová but decided to wait. I don't have that much Passion for Ana, but she's so much nicer than muscular mingers such as Kuznetsova and Mauresmo, and she's bloody good!

Second set
IVANOVIĆ _*__@__*_ 3
KUZNETSO * *@ @* * 6

Kuznetsova serving 0-0: Ana forehand lob just long. 15/0. Ana hit a precise crosscourt forehand pass-winner after Kuznetsova took the initiative and came to the net. 15/15. Ana forehand return just wide. 30/15. Kuznetsova crosscourt backhand winner just inside the sideline. Ana backhand winner down the line. 40/15. Ana backhand winner down the line - lovely change of direction. 40/30. Ace down the middle. Ad Kuznetsova. Ana bunted a forehand lob long.

Aww - no double bagel! :-(

Ana serving 0-1: Service-winner down the middle. 15/0. Kuznetsova hit a forehand too strong (just long). 30/0. Ana netcord wide. 30/15. Ace down the middle. 40/15. Ace out wide.

Kuznetsova serving 1-1: Ana sliced a backhand long & wide. 15/0. Kuznetsova hit a forehand winner down Ana's forehand-line after an interesting rally. 30/0. Ana error. 40/0. Kuznetsova came to the net, inducing Ana to net a backhand pass.

Sam Smith: "Kuznetsova too experienced to completely panic by losing the first set 6-0. She has a Spanish game with her heavy topspin, but has the Russian mentality: fight, fight, fight."

Ana serving 1-2: Double fault (second serve just long). 0/15. Ana mishit long. 0/30. Kuznetsova forehand winner down the line - caught the outside-edge of the sideline. 0/40 (3 BPs). Kuznetsova netted a tame backhand return off a second serve - no first serves by Ana in this game. 15/40. Kuznetsova floated a backhand long. 30/40. Second double fault of the game gives Kuznetsova the first break of the second set.

Kuznetsova serving 3-1: Ana off-forehand winner just inside the baseline. Kuznetsova is grunting loudly now, and moving like the elephant she facially resembles. 0/15. Kuznetsova backhand wide. 0/30. Kuznetsova hit a forehand long and did the splits. 0/40 (3 BPs). Ana netted a forehand and hung her head. 15/40. Ace. 30/40. Ana sliced a backhand just wide. 40/40. Ana hit a nice crosscourt forehand winner just inside the sideline, and shouted her first "c'mon" I've ever heard from her. Ad Ana (BP #4). Kuznetsova hit a forehand volley-winner after a long rally where Ana always looked on the back foot. Deuce #2. Kuznetsova backhand long. Ad Ana (BP #5). Kuznetsova sprayed a wild backhand way wide to give Ana the break back.

Sam Smith: "Kuznetsova is hitting hard, but it just doesn't affect Ivanović, who looks very comfortable. And Kuznetsova can't cope with this power coming from Ivanović, who is winning the mental battle out here. Kuznetsova is being outpunched in every department here."

Ana serving 2-3: Ana forehand wide (forced by Kuznetsova at the net). 0/15. Ana's forehand forced Kuznetsova to hit one wide. 15/15. Ace down the middle. 30/15. Ana netted a forehand. 30/30. Kuznetsova forehand just wide. 40/30. Kuznetsova off-forehand winner. 40/40. Ana forehand just wide. Ad Kuznetsova (BP). Ana netted a forehand.

Sam Smith praised how Ana disguises her forehand so well - you can't tell until the last moment which way she's going to hit it.

Kuznetsova serving 4-2: Ana floated a backhand long (forced by Kuznetsova at the net). 15/0. Kuznetsova netted a forehand. 15/15. Kuznetsova off-forehand wide. 30/15. Ana backhand long. 40/15. Kuznetsova backhand winner onto the sideline; the umpire checked the mark and confirmed it as good. Sam Smith: "A much more considered game from Kuznetsova - ľ-pace serves to nudge up her percentage of first serves in. Ivanović not able to keep up the intensity of the first set."

Ana serving 2-5: Ana forehand volley-winner. Sam Smith: "Seeing Kuznetsova on the stretch and making her way forward. We saw that a lot in the first set, and Kuznetsova did not like that.". 15/0. Ana forehand winner down the line. 30/0. Ana came to the net, inducing Kuznetsova to hit a forehand pass wide. 40/0. Ace out wide.

Kuznetsova serving 5-3: Kuznetsova netted a backhand. Barry Davies: "Come the momsnets of inteensity, comes th noise" 0/15. ? 15/15. Kuznetsova virtual forehand winner down the line. 30/15. Kuznetsova framed a backhand into the net. 30/30. Ace down the middle. 40/30. Ana netted a tame forehand to lose the second set 3-6 at 13:12.

Sam Smith: "Better percentage of first serves in from Kuznetsova [than Ana in the second set]. That allows her to hold serve more easily, and put some pressure on Ivanović."

What a shame. Ana played so brilliantly in the first set.

Sam Smith: "It's an awful feeling to have the momentum in a match like this and then lose it. You have to fight so hard to get it back."

Third set
IVANOVIĆ * *@*@* 6
KUZNETSO _*_____ 1

Ana serving 0-0: Ana backhand long. 0/15. Ana netted a backhand. 0/30. First serve: Kuznetsova forehand return wide. 15/30. Kuznetsova netted a forehand. 30/30. Ace out wide. 40/30. Ana came to the net and hit a nice forehand punch-volley winner. She said "c'mon" for the second point in a row.

Kuznetsova serving 0-1: Ace out wide (Ana went 0-4 in). 15/0. Kuznetsova backhand volley-winner after forcing a short ball from Ana. 30/0. Ana forehand long. 40/0. Kuznetsova forehand winner down the line.

Ana serving 1-1: Kuznetsova forced a short ball from Ana and hit a crosscourt forehand winner back behind her. 15/0. Kuznetsova backhand lob long - much better second serve from Ana that time. 15/15. Service-winner out wide. 30/15. Kuznetsova netted a backhand return, and Nicole Vaidišová just saved Jelena Janković's first match-point at 6-3 *5-4 (40/30). 40/15. Kuznetsova sprayed a wild forehand very wide.

Kuznetsova saw the doctor at the changeover. Barry Davies: "Players always seem to call the doctor when they are behind."

Kuznetsova serving 1-2: Kuznetsova dominated the point from her serve and hit a forehand smash-winner. 15/0. Kuznetsova forehand long. 15/15. A good second serve induced Ana to earth a forehand. 30/15. Ana hit an aggressive off-forehand winner. 30/30. Kuznetsova netted a forehand, and Ana shouted "c'mon". 40/30. Kuznetsova forehand long by a whisker.

Ana serving 3-1: Kuznetsova forehand long. 15/0. Kuznetsova netted a backhand. Sam Smith: "She looks lost. Absolutely lost." 30/0. Ana hit a sliced backhand, and Kuznetsova hit a backhand halfway up the net. 40/0. Kuznetsova scooped a forehand wide after running down a dropshot.

Sam Smith: "I've got an expression for Kuznetsova: it's the sort of day where you put the roast chicken in the freezer, and the ice-cream in the oven."

Kuznetsova serving 1-4: Kuznetsova thrashed a forehand wide. 0/15. Ana hit a one-handed backhand winner down the line. 0/30. Ana forehand return long. 15/30. Ana forced Kuznetsova to hit a forehand wide. 15/40 (2 BPs). A good off-forehand from Ana forced Kuznetsova on the stretch to net a backhand.

Ana serving for the match at 5-1: Kuznetsova backhand wide. 15/0. Kuznetsova netted a forehand. Janković just beat Nicole 6-3 7-5 at 13:35. 30/0. Kuznetsova backhand just long. 40/0 (3 MPs). Kuznetsova sprayed a wild forehand wide, and Ana gave a little scream of delight as she sealed a 6-0 3-6 6-1 win at 13:36.

Sam Smith: "She corrected what she didn't do right in the second set, and didn't panic."

Ana's on-court interview: "I'm very excited to be here. Crowd is great supporters. I enjoy it. Tough match today, but I was lucky. Everything was happening really fast - no time to think much. She was nervous; I was also nervous in the beginning. Inside I'm a little bit nervous. Important to learn how to deal with emotions - that was my biggest opponent before, and now I think more about my shots."

Well, there will certainly be one nice player in the final, whether it's Ana, Maria Sharapova or Anna Chakvetadze! Sam Smith said that Ana on this sort of form would be a big favourite to beat the winner of Maria v Anna.

Ana's press-conference

Q. You played a very good match, but there were some ragged moments both with Svetlana and yourself. Was it a good preparation for a semi?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Yeah, sure it was. It was a very tough match. Everything was happening quite fast. First set was, I would say, a little bit strange. I played some really good tennis. I was aggressive. And, I guess, she was a little bit nervous.

But in the second set, still I had some chances. I broke her back, and on 3-2, I was serving, and I just lost a little bit tension in my serve and my strokes. So she used that opportunity very well.

But I was really happy that from the beginning of the third, I could pull back and start being more aggressive again, and put pressure on her. And, yeah, I used the opportunities I had.

Q. Did you feel coming into the tournament that you could go this far? Did you have a good feeling about it this week?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: To be honest, I didn't think much about it. I just was really enjoying my game. And I felt fit, and I felt ready to compete against the top players. I'm really excited to get so far, and tournament is still not over. I am going to try and play my best each match I have.

Q. You're working here with have a Sven Groeneveld, what can you say about him?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: He's a great coach, and he's been really helpful. He was with me also in Berlin and here. And I can learn a lot from him. He was on the Tour for a very long time, and he's very experienced. So it's been great to have such a coach on my side.

And obviously it's tough when I play against side of this player, because he can't interfere, and he can't talk to me about matches. But still there is a few opponents that we can talk about and discuss. And we worked a lot on my serve, and I can see improvement in that. So it's very exciting.

Q. In the first set, did you play the best tennis you have ever played?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Everything was happening very fast, so I didn't think much about it. I just tried to move forward and be aggressive, and stay low. And I didn't make - I hadn't made any errors, so I would say I was pretty good.

Q. Back to Sven. So you hope Sharapova will win?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Oh, well, maybe it will be easier so he can advise me. But it's still, no matter against who I play, I'm going to try to play the best I can. And I had so many matches behind me now that I just want to go out there and enjoy it.

And, I mean, it was great two weeks for me, and I feel I improved a lot. And also I got some experience. So no matter against who I play, I'm going to try and play the best.

Q. Players always like to think just one match ahead. But is it impossible not to think about an Ivanović/Janković final?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: That would be very exciting. We never had. That didn't ever happen before, so I would be very happy if that happens. But as you said, it is important to take it match by match. And then, obviously, there is a lot of emotions involved. And it's very important for me that I keep that aside, playing semi-final, just to think more technically what I have to do in order to win.

And, as I said, I play a lot of matches lately, so that's going to help me a lot.

Q. Is the foot injury you had in the Berlin final, is that completely gone?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Well, I still feel it a little bit, time to time, also the other day after a tough match. But I do a lot of recovery and a lot of treatments. And it's getting better. I still wear braces just for protection until I get my full strength back.

Q. But it's not affecting your movement?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: No, no, no.

Q. You reached quarter-finals here a couple of years ago. How do you think you've improved as a player to make that jump to the semis over the past couple of years?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Two years ago when I reached quarter-final, that was my first year on the Tour. Since then, I think I improved a lot on my game. And my fitness, a big difference. And also, a lot of experience because I played so many matches since then. Also, I'm playing on Centre Court. It helps a lot because those are all situations you will have to deal with when you have to play further in the tournament. But that experience helped me a lot and made me more calm today.

Q. How much time do you spend between the tournaments in Switzerland nowadays?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Very little. It's very hard because I travel so much. And also, I went to Barcelona to practise, so I haven't really been to Switzerland for a very long time now.

Q. Kind of a magic moment. Why Serbia, why now? Is it a supernatural thing, what's going on?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Yeah, it's very exciting to see all of us doing so well. Especially we are all very young, so we all have many years in front of us and many possibilities. So it's very exciting, and I'm sure people back home are very proud of us, and that makes us feel very good.

Q. Do you talk with Novak [Đoković] much?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Yeah, we speak and we catch up. It's nice to see, because I've known him for a very long time, so it's nice to catch up.

As I said, as I mentioned before, I can learn also from watching him play, because men's game is different than women's, so I can learn watching him. And he is a great player. He can achieve a lot.

Q. Can you speak as freely with Jelena [Janković] as you can with Novak, because you're not competing with Novak?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Yeah, exactly, it's the same we play, so it's very hard to speak that way with her. But, I mean, we can all learn from each other, and we can all use other's successes and motivation extra for myself. So it's very exciting to see so many of us doing well.

Q. How come you play always so well in Paris? Is there anything special here for you?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: I like a lot of Paris, and obviously, my first memories I had from the reaching quarters here was an unbelievable experience. And I always like coming back here. And now I feel more comfortable playing on the clay as well. And I feel I improved my movements which helps a lot on the clay, because there is a lot of running, and a lot of, yeah, a lot of running to do.

So it's a great tournament for me, and the crowd, it's always great support. And I'm very excited to be here and to - I always look forward to coming back here.

Q. Is clay your favourite surface now?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: It's becoming, yeah. Yeah, sure.

Q. Would you describe your relationship with Jelena? Are you just casual acquaintances? Good friends?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Well, when we start playing tennis, she was - she's two years older than me, so we never played many tournaments together back home, and we lived in different parts of the city. So we never practised with each other. And then she went to America and I went to Switzerland. So kind of we had different ways, different roads, so we never really had a chance to practise with each other.

And even now, we both have our own teams and our own things we like to do. And it's a little bit different. And we are both a bit - we both found our way, and we are both doing well, so that's the most important thing.

Q. Are you looking forward to play Fed Cup with Jelena one day or not?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Yeah, I think we have very good chance. We have a good team, and we deserve a place in the World Group, and that would be a great step for our country. I would love to play a Fed Cup, and, yeah, play for my country again.

Q. You and Jelena both come in here and you kind of light up the room. You have great humour. You're happy and bubbly. Is this a national characteristic?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Yeah, we are happy people. Yeah, people back home, they're very friendly and open. And, yeah, we like to have fun. And that's something, yeah, I guess we are just born like that and we bring that from home.

So it's - I think it's important to be positive and to have a smile.


Super Ivanović dumps out Kuznetsova [Teletext 495->497]
Ivanović reaches semis [Teletext 497]

Seventh seed Ana Ivanović knocked out last year's beaten finalist Svetlana Kuznetsova to reach the semi-finals at Roland Garros for the first time.

The 19-year-old Serb, ranked a career-high No 7, raced through the first set without dropping a game before Russian Kuznetsova found her feet to level.

But Ivanović kept her belief to win 6-0 3-6 6-1 and will face second seed Maria Sharapova or Anna Chakvetadze in the last four.

Speed surprises Serb [Teletext 498]

Ana Ivanović admitted the speed of the first set took her by surprise in her quarter-final victory over Svetlana Kuznetsova at Roland Garros.

The in-form Serb seventh seed needed only 21 minutes to take a one-set lead before eventually winning 6-0 3-6 6-1.

She said: "Everything was happening quite fast. First set was a little strange. She was a bit nervous. I tried to move forward and be aggressive."

Ivanović upsets Kuznetsova to reach semis
By Pritha Sarkar
PARIS, June 5 (Reuters) - Serbia's Ana Ivanović roared into her first Grand-Slam semi-final with a topsy turvy 6-0 3-6 6-1 win over third seed Svetlana Kuznetsova at the French Open on Tuesday.

The 19-year-old never lost belief throughout the contest, and let out a shriek of joy as she kept alive hopes of an all-Serbian final on Saturday following the success of Jelena Janković.

"I'm very excited to be here and play my first semi-final. It was a tough match and I was lucky to come through," said Ivanović, who will run into another Russian, Maria Sharapova, next.

Kuznetsova was runner-up to Justine Henin at Roland Garros 12 months ago, but rarely looked like the player ranked third in the world, and an abdominal injury only added to her woes in the final set.

She was one of only three women to reach the quarter-finals without dropping a set, and that statistic lasted a mere 21 minutes on Tuesday when the first set flashed by in a blur of errors from the Russian.

A backhand-down-the-line winner sealed the first set for Ivanović.

After 27 minutes of one-sided action, Kuznetsova finally registered on the board, and she fought back to take the second set when Ivanović netted a forehand.

She sought assistance from the trainer for her injury at 2-1 down in the decider, and from that moment on, the Russian's game once again disintegrated.

A wild forehand booked Ivanović a place in the last four.

"I had to pull out for the doubles with abdominal-muscle pain," said Kuznetsova.

"It had been disturbing me for a while, but it wasn't hurting that badly.

"But at the end of the second set, I served hard and that pulled it more. So it was extremely hard in the third set."

Martyn Herman (Reuters)

The 19-year-old Ivanović could not stop smiling after reaching her first Grand-Slam semi-final by beating Kuznetsova. She romped to the first set in 21 minutes, and dominated again in the third set after her Russian opponent, hampered by an abdominal injury, briefly came to her senses.

"It's very exciting for us, and I'm sure people back home are very proud of us," said Ivanović after going one step further than she managed here in 2005. She plays Sharapova next.

Steve Douglas, Special to PA SportsTicker
The semi-finals will feature another Serb, as seventh-seeded Ana Ivanović outlasted third-seeded Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova, 6-0 3-6 6-1. Kuznetsova struggled with abdominal pains in the final set.

The runner-up here last year, Kuznetsova thinks she knows when the injury occurred.

"It was when it was 5-3 in the second set," Kuznetsova said. "I served hard and I think I pulled it."

The 19-year-old Ivanović is in her first career Grand-Slam semi-final. She also knows there is a possibility of an all-Serbian final.

"It's important I keep that to one side, and just play my semi-final," Ivanović said.

Howard Fendrich, AP Tennis Writer
Ivanović dumped a backhand into the net on the very first point, then won 25 of the next 32 points, prompting this postmatch-analysis: "I would say I was pretty good."

Kuznetsova, who won the 2004 US Open, made things more interesting until aggravating an abdominal-muscle injury while serving in the second set's final game. Ivanović took 15 of the last 16 points.

"Everything was happening really fast," Ivanović said, "and I didn't have time to think much."

World's Top 2 Advance, Will Face Serbians in Semifinals
No.7 seed Ivanović defeated No.3-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova, 6-0 3-6 6-1, her second win in a row over the Russian, having beaten her in a thrilling third-set tie-break win in the final of Berlin just a few weeks ago. The Serb was ecstatic.

"I was enjoying my game; I felt fit and ready to play against the top players," said Ivanović on her attitude coming into Roland Garros. "I'm excited to get so far, and the tournament isn't over. I'll try to play my best each match I have."

Teen Ivanović predicts major future [Teletext 495->498]
Ivanović predicts success [Teletext 498]

Ana Ivanović insists Serbians could go on to dominate women's tennis for many years to come due to the number of talented young players they possess.

The 19-year-old seventh seed is three years younger than fellow Serbian and fourth seed Jelena Janković, and both look set for huge careers in the game.

Ivanović said: "It's exciting to see us all doing so well. We've a lot of years in front of us and many possibilities."

7. Semi-final draw


8. Semi-final preview: Sharapova v Ivanović

This has to be the most mouthwatering Grand-Slam semi-final of all time, given that there's never been one between two members of my Eternal Fanship, and that Ana is the first player of whom I'm currently a demi-fan to reach a Grand-Slam semi-final.

My Eternal Fanship:
1. Monica Seles
2. Maria Sharapova
3. Daniela Hantuchová
4. Jelena Dokić
5. Iva Majoli (retired)
6. Karina Habšudová (retired)
7. Iroda Tulyaganova
8. Vera Zvonarëva
9. Nicole Vaidišová
10. Anna Chakvetadze

My current demi-fanship:
11. Lucie Šafářová
12. Tatiana Golovin
13. Maria Kirilenko
14. Sania Mirza
15. Ana Ivanović
16. Magdaléna Rybáriková
17. Karolina Šprem
18. Gisela Dulko
19. Flavia Pennetta

Matthew Cronin for "Ivanović can crush the ball off both wings, and with her broad shoulders and powerful legs is one of the few top women who are not faking it when she launches an inside-out forehand. She also comes in to net quite a bit, and is the best young volleyer on the Tour."

Steve Douglas (Special to PA SportsTicker): "Sharapova, who is in the semi-finals here for the first time, has managed to reach this stage even though she is battling shoulder-trouble. She is unable to put her full weight behind her serve, and admitted she has been having about an hour and a half's treatment on her shoulder every day."

Maria has the astonishing record of never having lost a /completed/ match to a player who's younger than she is. I only have to say "completed" because she retired from her Tokyo Pan Pacific Open 2007 semi-final against Ana when Ana was leading 6-1 0-1. Ana is the player most likely to end this record if she happens to beat Maria before Nicole Vaidišová can get to her (Nicole beat Maria 5-3 in a World Team Tennis rubber back in 2004, but such matches are not recognised by the WTA Tour, and Maria has never played Nicole on the WTA Tour).

Maria and Ana met once before that: quarter-finals of Linz 2006, which Maria won 7-6 7-5 despite wasting three set-points at *5-4 in the first, and a 5-2* lead in the second. "She played some amazing tennis," said Maria.

Ana comes into this semi-final in excellent form, having won Berlin over Svetlana Kuznetsova, and her first five rounds at the French Open:
1r + Sofia Arvidsson [LL], 6-2 6-0
2r + Sania Mirza [DF], 6-1 6-4
3r + Ioana Raluca Olaru [Q], 6-2 6-0
4r + ANABEL MEDINA GARRIGUES [24], 6-3 3-6 6-3
qf + SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA [3], 6-0 3-6 6-1

While Maria has struggled through with the following results:
1r + Emilie Loit, 6-3 7-6 (7/4)
2r + Jill Craybas, 6-2 6-1
3r + Alla Kudryavtseva [Q], 6-1 6-4 (was 1-4* down in 2s)
4r + PATTY SCHNYDER [14], 3-6 6-4 9-7 (saved 2 MPs)
qf + ANNA CHAKVETADZE [9,EF], 6-3 6-4

So it will be a fascinating contest because Ana has the form to win it, but Maria is a great champion who has more experience, unbelievable focus and intensity, and magnificent groundstrokes even though her serve has gone AWOL this year (due to her shoulder-injury). It will be fascinating to see how Ana reacts to the occasion of her first Grand Slam semi-final against one of the greats.

Serb duo seeking shock semi wins [CEEFAX 490->495]
Ivanović ready for semi challenge [CEEFAX 495]

Ana Ivanović is preparing for her maiden Grand Slam semi-final against Maria Sharapova in Paris on Thursday.

The teenager caused an upset in the quarter-finals by knocking out third seed Svetlana Kuznetsova.

Ivanović is coached by Sven Groeneveld - who has also worked with Sharapova - and said: "He's a great coach, and he's been really helpful.

"We've worked a lot on my serve, and I can see improvement in that, so it's very exciting."

World's Top 2 Advance, Will Face Serbians in Semifinals
Sharapova and Ivanović are 1-1; the Russian won at Linz last fall while the Serb won at Tokyo earlier this year, but that was due to Sharapova's injury retirement.

"She's had some good success on clay this season, so it'll be a very tough match and one I look forward to," Sharapova said. "I played a good match against her in Austria last year. Couldn't finish the match with her this year. But I'm looking forward to this one."

Ana: "There will be a lot of emotions, playing a semi-final. But it's important I keep those inside. Reaching the quarters here [in 2005] was an unbelievable experience, but I feel much more comfortable now."

9. Women's Doubles: First round (Thursday 31st May)

- Ana Ivanović [DF]/Maria Kirilenko [DF] lt. Jelena Janković/Li,Na, 1-6 2-6

10. Order of play for Thursday

Court Philippe Chatrier (start 14:00 CEST = 12:00 GMT = 13:00 BST)

I'm glad that the important match is first, so I don't have to worry about getting to the end of my DVD-RAM unless it goes on for almost four hours! :-)

UK TV-alert: BBCi will be covering both semi-finals, starting at 12:50 BST.

Full order of play:

Dr. Andrew Broad

My Eternal Fanship: 1. Monica Seles; 2. Мария Шарапова (‘Maria Sharapova’); 3. Daniela Hantuchová; 4. Jelena Dokić; 5. Iva Majoli; 6. Karina Habšudová; 7. Вера Звонарёва (‘Vera Zvonarëva’); 8. Nicole Vaidišová; 9. Анна Чакветадзе (‘Anna Chakvetadze’); 10. Lucie Šafářová; 11. Ирода Туляганова (‘Iroda Tulyaganova’); 12. Magdaléna Rybáriková; 13. Sabine Lisicki

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Andrew's semi-final TV-report

ROLAND GARROS (Paris, France; red clay; Grand Slam)

1. Photos & videos
2. Semi-final TV-report: Ivanović v Sharapova
3. Final-preview: Ivanović v Henin
4. Order of play for Saturday

1. Photos & videos (Ana-filtered)
1.1 Photos

Ana Ivanović and Maria Sharapova:
Search Getty Images for "sharapova" or "ivanovic"

Ana Ivanović only:

Various players: (Week 2) (Semifinals - day 1)

1.2 Videos

Semi-final press-conferences:

Day-13 press-conferences:

2. Semi-final TV-report: Ivanović v Sharapova (Thursday 7th June)


I have added my TV-report for this match to my French Open report for Maria Sharapova:

* match-preview
* point-by-point descriptions
* commentary-transcriptions
* statistics
* transcripts of press-conferences
* articles

3. Final-preview: Ivanović v Henin

* ANA IVANOVIĆ [7,DF] v JUSTINE HENIN [1] (ajde Ana!)

Henin is just one victory away from joining Monica Seles as the only woman to win three consecutive French Opens in the Open Era (which began in 1968 - in fact, before Monica in 1992, you have to go back to 1937 to find a woman winning her third consecutive French Open: Hilda Sperling).

So it would be so cool if Ana could protect Monica's unique record. Ana, after all, started playing tennis because of Monica, and is Serbian like Monica was before she became a US citizen in 1994.

I could even forgive Ana for thrashing Maria in the semis if she beat Henin in the final, because the chances of Maria beating Henin on clay in Maria's current condition would have been approximately zero. Only a fully-trained claycourt-player, with the Force as her ally, will conquer Roland Garros and its empress.

I believe that Ana could overpower Henin if Ana's at the top of her game, but it will be a much tougher match than her semi-final, because Henin's not going to give Ana nearly as many unforced errors as Maria did.

They've played each other only once before: in the semi-finals of Warsaw 2005, also on clay, when Henin - who was dominating everyone on clay that year - beat the 17-year-old Ana 6-4 7-5. So Henin has no great head-to-head advantage over Ana.

Ana has reached the final with the following very impressive results...
1r + Sofia Arvidsson [LL], 6-2 6-0
2r + Sania Mirza [DF], 6-1 6-4
3r + Ioana Raluca Olaru [Q], 6-2 6-0
4r + ANABEL MEDINA GARRIGUES [24], 6-3 3-6 6-3
qf + SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA [3], 6-0 3-6 6-1
sf + MARIA SHARAPOVA [2,EF], 6-2 6-1

...while Henin has got the job done without dropping a set, and without being troubled by the players who were expected to trouble her:
1r + Elena Vesnina, 6-4 6-3
2r + Tamira Paszek, 7-5 6-1
3r + MARA SANTANGELO [28], 6-2 6-3
3r + SYBILLE BAMMER [20], 6-2 6-4
4r + SERENA WILLIAMS [8, 6-4 6-3
qf + JELENA JANKOVIĆ [4], 6-2 6-2

I just hope Ana can go out there with no nerves and nothing to lose... produce her best tennis, and pull off a miraculous victory ten years after Iva Majoli did so against Martina Hingis.

Ana's pre-final press-conference (Friday 8th June)

Q. Did you sleep well?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Yes, very good tonight. And it was hard to imagine I could do that, but it was good.

Q. Tell me, you said yesterday that Sven Groeneveld, you are going to now play Justine, who is with adidas, so he can't coach you anymore. Does that mean even today, he's not going to talk to you and you'll be on your own?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Yes. David is going to have practice, but we can't talk about tactics or anything like that. So basically I'm on my own. But, yeah, it's been very great having him for a whole week - for a whole two weeks here. So I learned a lot. So now I can use some of these things for tomorrow.

Q. So even right after the match, he didn't see anything about the final to you?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: No, no, because he's not allowed to.

Q. Have you seen Justine playing during this tournament, or maybe did you watch any TV or videos?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: I saw little bit of her match yesterday. But she's - I watched her play before, and we played once two years ago. So for sure, I know this is going to be very tough match. But she's a great player, and she's won this tournament couple of times. So she's experienced also in that part.

But I think it's most important for me to relax and to play my game, and try to play the best I can. And try to use the chances, and see how it goes.

Q. Will you prepare this match emotionally, and how?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Yes, it's - I think it's the most difficult part, probably. And it's very easy to say, Oh, don't be nervous and don't be emotional, but it's a little bit harder to do it. I think nerves always exist, no matter which match you play. And once I'm on the court, it's very important for me to think more technically and what I should play - which kind of strokes - and not think too much about the occasion.

Q. When we talked to Sven yesterday, he said to us, "She doesn't want a 24/7 relationship with a coach. She's too independent. She doesn't like that." Can you talk a bit about your personality, and why you have chosen to conduct your career that way?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Before I had couple of experience when I spent too much time with a coach, and I didn't find it worked well for me. And it's important to have my own space, and also, a little bit of my private life. And I think for a relationship with a coach, it's very important to don't get too personal. Because then it's more respect, and also, when you work with a coach, it's very important to trust them.

So I think I have that with Sven. I really trust him, and he trust in me, so that's why it's working very well for us. But it's nice still to have sometimes my own space, and to spend some time on my own. And, yeah, that's also the way I can learn the most how to deal. Because in the end of the day, when I'm on the court, I'm alone. And I have to learn how to deal with the emotions then.

Q. Can you also talk a bit about the role that Mr. Holzmann played. He obviously was a very, very key person for you early in your tennis career?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Yes, definitely. It was very important time of my life. And if it wasn't for him, who knows what would be happening now. Because it was a time when the situation back in Serbia wasn't so good financially. It was very tough to support. My parents, for them, it was very tough to support me in that way.

But, yeah, he helped me a lot, and he always believed in me, so that gave me motivation and strength. And he's, also, I can say, a great friend of mine. So it's very - it's very nice to be working with him.

Q. Others in the tournament, obviously Sven was working with other players, as well. Were there any instances maybe when you wanted his time, but Fernando wanted his time, and he was being pulled all over the place - how did that work?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Yeah, it's a little bit - it's a little bit tougher when there are more players around. But I think it's, also, we always try to adjust so everyone can be happy. Because on the end of the day, he is there for most of us. But he's - most of the times, we were lucky that the times were different, so we could practice when we wanted. So that was good.

But, yeah, as coach of adidas, I accept that that may be the case sometimes. And, yeah, I accepted it, and we tried to work around it.

Q. Because he works for adidas, does that mean you get him for free? Sorry, that's a bit personal question, but do you get him for free?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: That's the job of my managers, so I don't get involved in that part.

Q. Do you have a relationship with Justine at all? Do you ever talk to her in the locker-room?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Well, not really, because I also try not to spend too much time around the club. I just practise and try to go back in the room, relax a little bit. So I haven't really spent much time around here. I think she does the same thing. And we also played different days, so we didn't have chance to see each other much.

Q. And you talk about that you really need your private time away from tennis. Can you describe what you're doing in that private time, and sort of your relationship with your family?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Well, I have a very close relationship with my family, especially with my brother. He is one of my biggest supporters. And I like to spend time with him. And when we are back home, you know, sometimes we even play basketball with him, and even Playstation, just so I can spend some time with him.

But, yeah, when I'm travelling, it's a little bit harder. Because it's hard to keep in touch sometimes with a friend. They go to school. We have different time-schedules. But I try always to phone them and just catch up for a little bit. And if I'm in my room, just to read a book or watch a DVD or listen to music.

Q. At what point did you realise that you didn't want to have a coach 24/7, that you really needed that time away? Was there a specific thing that happened that made you realise you just wanted to push people a away a little bit?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Well, beginning of this year, I had the experience where the relationship with the coach became a little bit too personal, and it was a little bit tough for me as well. So I wanted to try a little bit on my own. And that was also not a solution, because sometimes you need someone who can point things out for you.

And I have found a perfect situation with Sven. He's helpful. He's really helpful. And he also helps sometimes other players, so he's not there 100% of the time, but as basically as much as I need him.

And it's great to have such an experienced coach. So it's working really well for me. I still have enough time on my own. And it's still a little bit my private life is separate, so that's important.

Q. What do you remember about your previous match against Justine, and why do you think she's so strong?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Last time we played was two years ago. It was my first year on the tour. And it's been a while now. So it's very hard to remember how the match went.

But I watched her play a lot, and she's great, especially on the clay. And she has such also powerful game, and she's a great mover. So it's very hard to point some weaknesses in her game. But still, I think, I have some - my forehand is good; my serve, it's also working very well. So I'm going to try my best against her best, and see who wins.

Q. The way you stormed to the top, is almost the same or similar to Justine's. When she was 19, she played her first Grand Slam final, and she was No. 7 in the world. Could she be an example? Is that a coincidence, or would you sign up to do the same evolution in your career?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Yeah, I could sign then. No, she achieved same match. I didn't know about it. It's interesting. She achieved so much. And she can be really happy and proud of herself.

And I would love to achieve what she did so far.

Q. Tomorrow's match will be the most important of your career so far. But before this one, what was the most important moment of your career?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Probably yesterday! <laughing> It was - it's going to be very, very important match tomorrow. But all the matches I played so far gave me a lot of experience. So I was in a situation for the first time in a semi-final yesterday. So, yeah, I know I can little bit realise how it feels. But still, it's a first time finals. So, yeah, I just want to enjoy it and try to get the best out of it.

Q. In school, are you still studying, and what did you study already?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Yes, I have still a few more exams until I finish high school. And it's a touristic high school, general high school. And I hope I can do that in the next few months. And probably my goal is to sign university, maybe a little bit from September. Because I think it's very important to keep doing school as well. And I reminded school, so I want to start a little bit as well, and just something else to do.

Q. You did that photo-shoot a couple of days ago near the Eiffel Tower. Had you been to the Eiffel Tower before?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Yes, this is my maybe fifth or sixth time in Paris. And I visited the first few times I was here. It's such an historical city, and I really like to visit it. And it's - it's a beautiful city, really, to spend some time and walk around. And there are so many things to see.

Q. Do you think the public could have an importance on the match, and what about you?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Oh, for sure it can, because the crowd can sometimes really help, help you to get through the matches. And so far they've been really great. And they've been great supporters. And I hope the atmosphere tomorrow will be good again, and that we're going to have a great match.

Q. Yesterday, during Justine's match, she had some notes from her coach, and she was reading them sometimes during the changeovers. So if Sven is not allowed to talk to you, can he write some notes for you, as well?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: No, no, no, he can't. He just can't help me in that way at all. And it's a little bit pity in some way, because it's a great achievement of my life, and it's a pity he can't really help me for tomorrow's match.

But he really - whole week, whole two weeks, he's been on my side, and it's been really good.

So, yeah, I just have a little bit picture in my head the way I should play, and just relax, and basically enjoy.

Q. Because you have other interests outside tennis, and your studies, and you seem to be, you know, very mature person, do you have a time-scale for your career? Do you think you'll end up like Kim [Clijsters], maybe, ending her career early? Or have you not thought about that?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: No, I haven't really thought. I'm just in the beginning of my career, so it's very hard to think about the end. But, yeah, I've been really interesting in some parts also behind tennis. And I think it's very important to keep balance, because sometimes you need something to get away from tennis, and do something different. And, yes, so you can achieve more into tennis when you play again and practise again.

But, I'm really lucky to be doing what I like. And I really hope it's going to last for a long time.

Henin's pre-final press-conference (Friday 8th June)

<snipped irrelevant questions>

Q. Day before a final, whether it's here or any place, do you have a routine that you like to go through, something that perhaps relaxes you a little bit the day before the match?

JUSTINE HENIN: No, I just prepare my match exactly the same as I did for my first six matches. I don't change anything. I did practise at the same time, but here in Roland Garros, which wasn't the case the last few days before my matches, but that is the routine I had the last few years before. So I'm going to keep going with it.

Now I'm going to have lunch here and go back to the hotel, work with my trainer. Try to be relaxed, and try to get a little bit of sleep, which is not really easy before a big day. But I don't change, no, my routine at all.

Q. This tournament is so intense, not only in terms of time, but the length of the points and the fact that it's on red clay, that so many of the people that have won this have had sort of - try to have a no pressure kind of ambience with them as they go through the draw. I remember when Sergei Bruguera won it for the first time, he said he didn't feel any pressure. He just tried to have a good time here. Does that come into play for you as well, trying to find something to take your mind off tennis a bit?

JUSTINE HENIN: Yeah, that's what I always try to think about something else. And also, I really need to be in my tunnel, you know, just being ready and really stay focused. Even if I can do other things today, I'm in my match already. And that's very important to me to stay concentrated.

But in another way, I like to be with some people around me, and do something else, talk about something else, and think about holidays in a few weeks, and that's good.

Q. One other thing on the match, Ana is sort of an unknown quantity. You've seen her play, but you haven't played her much. I'm just wondering do you prefer - do you like a situation where you're playing somebody you've played many times especially recently, or are you equally comfortable with somebody who is kind of an unknown factor?

JUSTINE HENIN: Well, you don't have the choice, so you have to deal with the situation. And I never say, "Oh, I prefer this or I prefer this," because it doesn't matter what I would prefer.

So in this situation, I play someone that I don't know that much. I mean, I didn't play her - I played her only once in my career, so it's not that much. When we see players like Kuznetsova, Sharapova, or Janković now, it's not the same anymore.

But anyway, I just have to stay concentrated on me. And what I will have to do on the court, and no matter what happens on the other side of the net, that's really important to me that my goals are clear in my head. And I know what I want to do on the court. Am I going to be able to do it? I don't know. We'll see tomorrow. But doesn't matter who I have to play.

Q. You're closing on the third straight title, and you haven't dropped a set here for a long time. Are these things that motivate you, or do you try to block them out and forget about records when you're playing?

JUSTINE HENIN: I forget about this, because it's not going to help me to win, probably. The thing is that I want to win tomorrow, because I love to win, generally, even if it's in Warsaw, in Dubai, in Paris, probably, a little bit more here. But I'm a real competitor, and that's why I love to win matches, and big matches like tomorrow. So then if I can win the third one here in the world, that would be great, that would be a great achievement. But right now, it's not my main goal. I'm focused on winning this title and that's it.

Q. Coming back to Ana. I presume you watched yesterday's match. What you made about it?

JUSTINE HENIN: I didn't much watch that match because it's - you know, I really had to prepare my match. And I don't like to watch a lot about my other opponents.

And she's in confidence. She proved it. She played a great tournament. So you can see it different ways. She will have nothing to lose tomorrow. And in another way, it's her first Grand Slam final.

But I don't want to count on anything from her. I just want to be focused on me. And if I want to win this match, I will have to go and try to win it, not the way that she'll give it to me, because she won't. So everyone knows, you know, she's young, so she's going for the winners. And she's trying to take her chances.

But it's going to be 50-50 tomorrow, because it's a Grand Slam final, and everything can happen. And I don't consider myself - everyone is waiting for me, but I just have to forget about that and just be ready and try to play my best tennis. But much more important than that, just to win the match.

Q. After a match tomorrow, is it your advance that Ana Ivanović can't be coached?


Q. That Ana Ivanović can't be coached tomorrow by Sven Groeneveld?

JUSTINE HENIN: Oh, you know, I don't know about that. You have two players on the court, they want the same thing, and forget about what's happening off court. It's going to be at 3:00 o'clock tomorrow that you're going to see what's going to happen.

Q. Talk about pushing your limits? Do you think anyone has actually tested your limits so far in this tournament? Have you actually felt under much pressure in the matches?

JUSTINE HENIN: Well, it's - you're always under pressure. When you look at the score yesterday, it could be easy, 6-2, 6-2. But I had to work hard. And I just tried to, you know, be active, and not only a reaction on the court. I just tried to do something with the ball, and that's what I did yesterday.

And we'll see tomorrow what kind of match I will have to face. But I will be ready for a very tough match to fight on every point. And like I said, the best will win.

Q. How are you going to organise your time from now until tomorrow?

JUSTINE HENIN: Well, it's 1:00 o'clock, so I'm going to have lunch. And then I'm going to watch part of the men's matches. This is what I've done last year. So I watch Federer for half an hour. Then from half 3:00 to 5:00, I'll work with my physiotherapist, because this is what I've done every day after a match. So that's until 5:00 o'clock.

Then I'll take two hours for myself, alone, in my bedroom. Okay, I might make a few phone-calls. But I really need to have a bit of time to be faced with myself. And I'm starting concentrating. I watch TV. I read. I listen to music. But I'm already in my match.

I know that tomorrow is going to be one of my great days. And that will take me until 7:00, 7:30 p.m., then I'll have dinner. I'll see my physiotherapist just before I go to bed. Then I'll fight, I'll struggle to get a bit of sleep, just like every day before a great match. That's all for the details.

Q. You'll be facing a 19-year-old girl. Does it remind you of good old times when you were young, or does it show to you that time flies like an arrow? [fruit flies like a banana!]

JUSTINE HENIN: Well, it does fly. I'm 25. I'm still young. But also I need to realise that time flies very fast, and I need to make the most out of each moment. And I need and accept that there is this new generation coming up. And, you know, it's quite all right. Fine by me. I know that there are many competitors out there, and that's the principle of the game. You know you won't last forever.

And to be honest with you, I didn't like the days I had five years ago. I had less experience. I would find it more difficult to step back. So I feel more - I feel more relaxed today than five years ago, that's for sure.

Q. Can you remember your first final in Wimbledon? And can you compare your mindset at that time to that of Ivanović today?

JUSTINE HENIN: Well, I was supposed to play on the Saturday, and the match took place on a Sunday. So that was difficult. And then I felt something was going on around me. My grandfather had died, and, I wasn't feeling well. And I was one set away from winning. But I didn't feel well. It was difficult.

But now, you know, we're all different, and we all react in different ways to this type of situation. So I try not to think about how Ana Ivanović is going to manage her match. This is not going to help me at all. I need to remain very much focused on my objectives. I need to capitalise on what I've done over the last days. But I know I need to expect a very tough match, or all that matters is winning now.

Q. Did you experience this feeling of fear with everything going too fast, everything being too big?

JUSTINE HENIN: Well, yes, to be honest. The first time you don't feel that you're in the right place. As for me, the court had become huge, and, you know, the balls can be very fast on grass. It was difficult, but it still is an exceptional memory.

Q. Do you know Ana Ivanović off the courts, and have you done things together?

JUSTINE HENIN: No, we don't know each other at all.

Q. She seems to be very nice girl?

JUSTINE HENIN: And I seem to be a very nasty person, don't I? [] No, but we don't know each other at all. You can't know everybody, really. And part from saying hello, goodbye, we have very few contacts, very few relationships with people. But she looks - she looks a nice girl, but I don't know her.

Q. What about the match you played in Warsaw?

JUSTINE HENIN: Well, that was back in 2005. That's too far. That's too far away. I can't remember. I remember the result. And she wasn't what she is now and I wasn't what I am now. So that's too long ago for me to compare anything. We need to see what happens this week. And anyway, every match is different.

We don't know each other much playing on the court, and there won't be any observation round. And we both know that we'll need to take all opportunities to win.

Q. You've always been very much supported by the audience here, but maybe Ana is the new favourite from the crowd. What do you expect from the audience?

JUSTINE HENIN: Well, I expect nothing. I'll have great pleasure walking on the court. I know that I'll have many people behind me. I know that people can play a role, but I need to remain focused, not to pay too much attention to this. It is a great honour for me to walk on the central court for the final. I guess the French audience will be behind both of us. So we need a winner and a loser. That's sports.

Q. Do you feel that people will expect even more from you tomorrow?

JUSTINE HENIN: Yes, I mean, having won the tournament three times over the last four years, of course people have expectations. A final is always something exceptional. And I hope I'll get great support. I'll give the best I can give, but you need to try and forget about people's expectations, because that's an additional pressure you don't really need when you fight on the court, really.

So I'll try and make - play my best tennis, give pleasure to people, and have pleasure myself. And enjoy every moment of it, because that is a great honour.

Q. There were not many tough matches in the last rounds of this tournament. Do you have any explanation to this?

JUSTINE HENIN: Well, in the men's draw, you didn't have many difficult matches either. There are differences, but, you know, it depends from one year to the other. The level was quite good. I saw many good matches, whether in the ladies or in the men's tournament. Of course, people would like to have tighter matches. But, you know, as a player, when you can win rapidly, you feel relieved.

Thank you very much.


Henin eyes French Open hat-trick [CEEFAX 490->493] (Friday 8th June)
Justine Henin is enjoying her tennis more than ever going into Saturday's French Open final against Ana Ivanović.

The Belgian, trying to win her third straight title in Paris and fourth in total, is back on form after splitting from her husband in January.

And Henin has far more experience than 19-year-old Serbian Ivanović, who will play in her first Grand Slam final.

"Because I had a difficult beginning of the year, it's a great pleasure to be back at this Grand Slam," said Henin.

Ivanović ready for final nerves [CEEFAX 490->493]
Ana Ivanović admits nerves could be a problem when she plays Justine Henin in her first Grand Slam final at the French Open on Saturday.

"It's very easy to say, 'Oh, don't be nervous and don't be emotional,'" said the 19-year-old.

"But it's a little bit harder to do it. I think nerves always exist no matter which match you play.

"Once I'm on court it's very important for me to think technically and not think too much about the occasion."

Henin expects tough battle in final [Teletext 495->498]
Henin ready for battle [Teletext 498]

Top seed Justine Henin knows she will have to work if she is to claim a fourth French Open title on Saturday.

The Belgian will face 19-year-old Serb Ana Ivanović in the final, with the teenager already seeing off big names in the earlier stages.

Henin admitted: "She will have nothing to lose. She has such a powerful game and is a great mover - it is hard to find any weaknesses in her."

Teen star Ivanović admits to nerves [Teletext 495->498]
Ivanović admits to nerves [Teletext 498]

Serbian sensation Ana Ivanović admits she is nervous ahead of her first-ever Grand Slam final on Saturday.

She will take on top seed Justine Henin in the showpiece at Roland Garros, her reward for beating Svetlana Kuznetsova and Maria Sharapova.

The 19-year-old said: "It's very easy to say: 'Don't be nervous or emotional', but it's harder to do it. That will be the most difficult part."

HENIN: FINAL SHOWDOWN WILL BE CLOSE [Teletext 495->496] (Saturday 9th June)
Henin expects it tough [Teletext 496]

Belgian ace Justine Henin believes the final showdown with Serbian teenager Ana Ivanović in the French Open final is too close to call.

Henin - the world No 1 and top seed - will start as favourite, having won three of the last four women's singles titles at Roland Garros.

Henin insisted: "It will be 50-50 - it's a Grand-Slam final and I know anything can happen."

Ana quotes

"It will be an amazingly tough match. Justine has won this tournament a few times before, and she's playing good on clay. But it's important for me to play my game and just focus.

"I'm very excited, though. Coming here, I didn't expect any of this. I just tried to focus on each match separately.

"I think it's important for me to relax and to play my game, and try to play the best I can.

"Once I'm on the court, it's very important for me to think technically and what I should play - which kind of strokes. And not think too much about the occasion.

"My forehand is good. My serve - it's also working very well. I have a little bit [of a] picture in my head [of] the way I should play."

[Re. Sven Groeneveld, who can't coach her because Ana and Henin are both Adidas-players]
"It's been a little tough on that side. Basically I'm on my own. We can't talk about tactics or anything like that. It's a pity in some way, because it's a great achievement in my life and he can't help me at all.

"Before I had a couple of experiences when I spent too much time with a coach and it didn't work well for me. I have found a perfect situation with Sven, as he's not there 100% of the time but basically as much as I need him. It's important to have my own space and also a little bit of a private life. That's the way I can learn how to deal [with things], because at the end of the day, when I'm on the court, I'm alone."

Henin quotes

"She's in great shape, Ivanovic. She won in Berlin this year, and she's very confident. She's matured a lot over the last year(s), so this is a match I'm going to work on very seriously..

"I have watched her play a lot and she's great, especially on the clay. She has such a powerful game, and she's a great mover. It's very hard to find any weaknesses in her game.

"But my forehand is good, and my serve is working well. I'll give my best against her best.

"Saturday will be a Grand Slam final, so it's going to be a great - put pressure on both of us. And I think the most fighting of the two of us will win. I think the player who manages to control the match better will win.

"This is my favourite event. It was the tournament I watched as a little girl, and it was a dream for me to win it once. And I have done it three times. I still have a lot to do to win it a fourth time.

"She's played an exceptional tournament this year, and she's in great shape. She's very confident. And it's a final, so I I need to be ready and to play my best level of tennis if I want to win.

"She will have nothing to lose tomorrow. She has confidence and she has proved that - she's played a great tournament. But I don't want to count on anything from her. I just want to be focused on me.

"I will have to go and try to win it, because she won't give it to me. It will be 50-50 - it's a Grand Slam final and anything can happen."

4. Order of play for Saturday

Court Philippe Chatrier (start 15:00 CEST = 13:00 GMT = 14:00 BST)

Full order of play:

Dr. Andrew Broad

My Eternal Fanship: 1. Monica Seles; 2. Мария Шарапова (‘Maria Sharapova’); 3. Daniela Hantuchová; 4. Jelena Dokić; 5. Iva Majoli; 6. Karina Habšudová; 7. Вера Звонарёва (‘Vera Zvonarëva’); 8. Nicole Vaidišová; 9. Анна Чакветадзе (‘Anna Chakvetadze’); 10. Lucie Šafářová; 11. Ирода Туляганова (‘Iroda Tulyaganova’); 12. Magdaléna Rybáriková; 13. Sabine Lisicki
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Andrew's TV-report of the final

ROLAND GARROS (Paris, France; red clay; Grand Slam)

1. Photos & video
2. Final TV-report: Ivanović v Henin

1. Photos & video
1.1 Photos

Ana Ivanović:
Search Getty Images for "ivanovic"

Various players:

1.2 Video

Ana Ivanović's final press-conference:

2. Final TV-report: Ivanović v Henin (Saturday 9th June)

- ANA IVANOVIĆ [7,DF] lt. JUSTINE HENIN [1], 1-6 2-6

What a shame. Ana actually made a dream-start to her first Grand Slam final as she broke in the first game and went up *1-0 (40/0). But when she failed to capitalise on an excellent wide serve on that point that was surely going to give her 2-0, her bubble suddenly burst, and she spiralled into a nightmare from which she never recovered.

Ana kept mishitting her groundstrokes, and playing to Henin's forehand to a predictable extent instead of playing the wonderful spreading rallies of which I've always known she's capable (since she came to my attention at the end of 2004). A brilliant player, but oh so fragile!

The commentators said Henin was the overwhelming favourite, and Virginia Wade said the key to the match would be how well Ana started.

Virginia Wade [re. Ana]: "Maybe not /the/ fastest player on court, but exciting shots. But Justine seems to know how to handle things."
Sam Smith [re. Ana]: "I think she has a chance. I think her odds of 9-2 are extremely generous!"

Umpire: Kader Nouni.

The match started at 15:13 CEST, after a delay with Kader Nouni's equipment.

First set
IVANO @______ 1
HENIN _@*@*@* 6

Henin serving 0-0: Ana hit a crosscourt forehand winner on the fourth stroke. 0/15. Henin netted a nervy-looking forehand after a longish rally. 0/30. Ana netted a backhand after a brief rally. 15/30. Ana opened up the court with two crosscourt forehands, then hit a pinpoint forehand winner down the line, just inside the sideline. David Mercer: "Great defence, and great counterattack." 15/40 (2 BPs). Ana's backhand clipped the netcord... and fell back on her own side. 30/40. Henin hit an off-forehand virtual winner (just clipped the edge of Ana's racket). 40/40. Henin hit a forehand halfway up the net as Ana started to "take on all the short balls" [Sam Smith]. Ad Ana (BP #2). Double fault.

Well, well, well! A flying start for Ana, and Henin's the one who looks nervous!

Ana serving 1-0: Serve forced a short ball; Ana crosscourt forehand winner - "a /controlled/ winner with a little bit of extra topspin" [David Mercer]. 15/0. Henin forehand just long. 30/0. Henin netted a forehand return. 40/0. Ana hit a forehand volley wide, forced by a Henin pass after an intriguing rally in which an excellent wide serve into the corner had given her the initiative. Sam Smith: "It's Ivanović who's getting the first strike in." 40/15. Ana showed her first sign of nerves, with a first-serve fault off a bad toss, and hitting a backhand wide. 40/30. Henin forced a short ball and hit a forehand winner down the line. 40/40. Henin sprayed a wild forehand VERY wide. Ad Ana. Ana hit a forehand wide off a deep ball down the middle from Henin, pushing Ana back on her heels. Deuce #2. Ana's groundstrokes suddenly got very tentative, and she netted a sliced backhand. Ad Henin (BP). Henin broke with a dead-netcord backhand winner off a backhand onto the baseline.

Broken from 40/0 up - that's a huge psychological blow, and Ana already showed it towards the end of that game.

Sam Smith [re. Ana]: "I think she's gonna come off of Cloud 9. She was so relaxed she didn't know what she was doing."

Henin serving 1-1: Ana hit a crosscourt forehand winner into the space left by Henin after a short, weak smash. 0/15. Double fault (second serve just long). But the umpire checked the mark and overruled it, so Henin got to replay the point with a first serve! And she took full advantage with a service-winner down the middle. 15/15. And again. 30/15. Henin hit an amazing reflex backhand volley-winner just inside the sideline. David Mercer: "If Ivanović /does/ have a weakness, it's that she's not the quickest around the court." 40/15. Henin drove Ana wide, forcing her to net a forehand.

Sam Smith [re. Ana]: "She needs the serve and the forehand to really work /for/ her. That was an ominous game, because Henin knows better than anyone how to get the game on her own terms. It's just how she wants it now. She doesn't allow her opponent to play well."

Ana serving 1-2: Ana came in and hit a beautiful (if slightly tentative) forehand punch-volley winner. 15/0. Double fault (second serve clipped the netcord and fell wide). 15/15. Despite some anxious grunting, Ana hit a lovely backhand pass-winner down the line. Sam Smith: "Very comfortable playing on her outside leg there. These shots are well-produced." 30/15. Ana netted an off-forehand after Henin had neutered her initiative with a deep defensive lob. 30/30. Henin netted a forehand return. 40/30. Ana mishit a backhand just long. 40/40. Ana's forehand on the third stroke floated long. Ad Henin. Ana's groundstrokes lacked penetration or angles, but she hit a backhand dropshot-winner which David Mercer claimed she did not intend. Deuce #2. Ana tried to spread, but ended up chopping a defensive forehand long. Sam Smith: "Not playing this match on her terms, Ivanović." Ad Henin (BP #2). Double fault (second serve into the net).

What a shame. Ana badly needed to hold there, especially after 40/30.

Sam Smith: "Ana came out striking the ball sweetly, but Henin - who must have been horrified when Ana was 1-0 (40/0) up - is now controlling the tempo of this match."

Henin serving 3-1: Henin came to the net, inducing Ana to hit a backhand pass wide. 15/0. Ana forehand crosscourt return-winner. 15/15. Service-winner down the line - "pinpoint accuracy" [Sam Smith]. 30/15. Ana hit a defensive forehand just long/wide. 40/15. Ana netted a forehand.

Sam Smith: "Carlos Rodr&#237;guez wants Henin to play always on the level, rather than brilliantly one moment but poor the next. Whereas Ivanović has gone up and down, up and down already."

Ana was muttering to herself at the changeover.

Ana serving 1-4: Ana forehand just long. 0/15. Ana forced a short ball from Henin at the net, and hit a crosscourt forehand pass-winner. 15/15. Ana mishit a backhand quite long. 15/30. Ana sprayed a wild backhand very long. 15/40 (2 BPs). Ana opened up the court with a good wide serve, but hit a wild backhand /down the middle/ long.

David Mercer: "Worrying times for Ivanović and her supporters. Beginning to spray the ball all over the place. Suddenly the points are going rapidly, and most of them are ending with errors."

Henin serving 5-1: Ana worked her way to the net but netted a backhand volley. 15/0. Henin came to the net, forcing Ana to net a forehand pass. Sam Smith: "She's got Ivanović all tied up... got the ball leaping away past the tramlines." Henin took the initiative, came to the net, but netted a backhand half-volley - good dipping pass from Ana. 30/15. Ana sprayed a wild backhand wide. 40/15 (2 SPs). Ana netted a tame backhand return to lose the first set 6-1 at 15:47 (34m).

David Mercer said that Ana is peppering Henin's forehand so much that it's too predictable - Henin's just standing there waiting for it now.

Ana just has to forget how the tide turned against her in the second game of that set, try to relax and go for her shots like she did in her previous two matches!

Sam Smith: "It's amazing how she manages to look so sultry and so demure all at the same time."

Second set
IVANO __*___*_ 2
HENIN @* *@* * 6

Ana serving 0-0: Service-winner. 15/0. Henin came to the net, and Ana lofted a forehand pass long. 15/15. Ana's first serve wasn't even close to the centre-line, and the second serve was just long: Double fault #3. 15/30. Ana mishit a forehand long. Sam Smith: "She hasn't been allowed any rhythm at all." 15/40. Henin forehand just long (late call). The umpire ordered a replay, and Sam Smith said Ana had called it out herself! Double fault #4.

It's turned into a total nightmare for Ana now, and I can only fear a 6-1 6-0 scoreline - the worst in a French Open final since 1988.

Henin serving 1-0: Henin shouted "allez!" in the middle of the rally to put Ana off a forehand which she hit long. 15/0. Henin came to the net, but Ana nailed a crosscourt backhand pass-winner and shouted "ajde!" 15/15. Ana hit a deep forehand down the line, on the outside edge of the baseline, forcing Henin to earth a backhand. 15/30. Ana sprayed a backhand long. 30/30. Second serve: Ana sprayed a forehand return wide. 40/30. Ana netted a backhand off a short ball from Henin.

David Mercer: "Ana Ivanović just has to dig /so/ deep now: find some sort of rhythm, some sort of confidence, some sort of belief."

Ana serving 0-2: Henin sprayed a wild backhand very long & wide. 15/0. Henin hit a forehand smash-winner into the corner - right past where Ana was standing! - but it was called wide. 30/0. Henin netted a sliced backhand off an awkward low ball from Ana's forehand down the line. 40/0. Service-winner.

Phew! That breaks a run of 8 games in a row for Henin!

Sam Smith: "A stabilising game for Ivanović. But Henin is not letting her dictate, and that's the heart of this match."

The TV-cameras managed to get a close-up of Henin's notes at the changeover: it said things like "change les directions", "courir, courir, courir" and "filet".

Henin serving 2-1: Henin forehand pass-winner down the middle - Ana came to the net, but left such a huge gap. "Again, directing the attack to the forehand, and Justine's just sitting there waiting for it." 15/0. Henin crosscourt forehand winner. 30/0. Henin netted a forehand. 30/15. Serve forced a short return and Henin dispatched it with a backhand winner down the line. 40/15. Henin opened up the court with a crosscourt forehand, and hit a forehand winner down the line.

Ana serving 1-3: Double fault (second serve into the net). 0/15. Ana went for a forehand down the line, but it was wide. 0/30. First serve: Henin forehand return just long. 15/30. Ana netted a forehand. 15/40 (2 BPs). Ana played a good spreading rally and came to the net, forcing Henin to net a forehand. 30/40. Ana mishit a forehand wide.

David Mercer: "I just hope what's happening to her out here won't destroy her. Natasha Zvereva got to the final in 1988, lost 6-0 6-0, and although she was a great doubles-champion, she never achieved anything like that in singles again."

Henin serving 4-1: Henin crosscourt forehand virtual winner. 15/0. Ana sprayed a forehand wide. 30/0. Henin netted a forehand. 30/15. Henin netted a forehand. 30/30. Henin opened up the court and hit a forehand smash-winner. 40/30. A big wide serve forced a short skyscraper lob-return, which Henin dispatched with a mildly awkward (for one of her height) forehand smash-winner.

Sam Smith: "Henin's just ruthless. Such precise hitting, such width, so much work on the ball. She's become such an aggressive player - I can't believe she's the same player who used to run around defending and trying to hit winners off her backhand."

Ana serving 1-5: Service-winner. 15/0. Service-winner out wide. 30/0. Ana wide serve + forehand winner down the middle, just inside the baseline. 40/0. Henin netted a backhand.

David Mercer [re. Ana]: "Every game now is so important in terms of the psychology of her future career."

Henin serving 5-2: A deep forehand on Henin induced Ana to hit a forehand half-volley long. 15/0. Ana totally mishit a crosscourt backhand, which amazingly landed on the sideline, stopped playing the point, then sprayed a wild backhand wide. 30/0. Ace (called out but conceded by Ana - sporting to the last). Whistles from the crowd. 40/0 (3 MPs). First serve into the net. A few shouts from the crowd. Henin hit a forehand volley-winner on the fifth stroke to win 6-1 6-2 at 16:18 (second set 31m, match 1h05m).

Sam Smith: "Ivanović just didn't know how to control her nerves, how to control her emotions. It wasn't the /whole/ difference between them, but it was a large part.
"She's got a great 'A' game, but when someone's stopping her from playing the 'A' game, she's got to have another level. Got to fill in the brickwork there."

Ana's on-court interview: "She played a great match. I was a little bit nervous, but she played an amazing match. I started okay, but at 1-0 [first set] I started getting nervous, my ball-toss was everywhere; I lost control of my serve. She's a great player and I had to play very well to beat her."

Henin's on-court interview was lost on me, as it was in very rapid French!

Mary Pierce presented the trophies, looking overweight but still quite sexy in her lightly colourful peasant-kaftan! She hasn't played since October 2006 due to a horrific knee-injury sustained whilst playing Vera Zvonar&#235;va at Linz.

Henin broke off from her French presentation-speech to say, "Congratulations, it's been amazing," to Ana.

Ana's presentation-speech: "Hello everyone! First of all, I'm very happy to be here, and I'd be even happier if I could hold the trophy. But at least I lost to a great player. It's been an exciting two weeks for me. I want to thank my family who's been here these two weeks. Also the ones back home who supported me, and my coaches - they've been great; I learned a lot. I really enjoyed, and I hope next year I can see you again in the final." <I'm not sure if it was a laugh or a sob that accompanied the final word!>

Virginia Wade: "A final's different to any other match in the tournament. It's a different build-up, and Ana looked petrified. She was sluggish, wasn't moving. She's still fairly green as far as the big tournaments are concerned. Her tactics weren't right: instead of playing on Henin's forehand, she should have been pushing the ball from corner to corner."

Sue Barker: "Movement is going to be a big issue. If she's going to go right to the top of the game, she has to improve that."

Ana's press-conference

Q. You started strongly first game, game and a half, and then it seemed to slide downhill. There wasn't much you could do about it, it appeared?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Yes, in the beginning of the match, I felt okay. I was trying to put the nerves aside, emotions aside. But then, in the first service-game, it's, all of a sudden, from one point to another. It just - it just hit me, I guess. And I had so much trouble with my ball-toss, first serve. It was going everywhere. It was very hard to control it.

And obviously, then I was trying just to put my first serve in. And she's a great player, so she could use the opportunities she had. And I think that was - that was the big difference today.

Q. How did you feel last night, were you all jacked-up and nervous, or were you calm about it?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: I was actually surprised that I got quite a good night of sleep. I was - yeah, yesterday from time to time I was little bit excited, but I managed to control it quite well. And also this morning in the beginning, as I said, I felt okay.

But then, at some point I just realised what was happening, and that slowed me down a little bit. And then the nerves came into my serve, especially. And, yeah, because against her, you have to play some good tennis to win.

Q. I want to go back on that very first question. We saw the great Ana Ivanovic during the first game with great groundstrokes. On your first serve, leading 40/Love, you couldn't finish it up. Did you think that was already a turnaround in your mind, or you weren't there yet?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: No, I think that was just she broke me back, and I thought I was okay. Just that, on 40/15, in that game, I, all of a sudden, started feeling nervous, and my ball-toss was going everywhere. So I couldn't really control it. So I start to think more about that instead of my game. And also, I was too much focused on the serve, trying to toss the ball right, so I didn't totally think about moving well or where should I play. And then she could use that well, she stepped up a little bit.

And even when I had some chances to come back, and I played a few good points, she was there. She didn't give me much - much of a window, and it was tough.

Q. What do you think the difference was between yourself and Justine today?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: I would say experience. She's been there before, and she won Grand Slams many times before. So she knew how to deal with the nerves. And for me, that was the first time. And obviously, I wanted to perform well. And I - I felt really good through the whole tournament, so I wanted to show my best again today. And I was little bit overexcited, and maybe even trying to do too much.

But I guess I can use this as experience. And next time I'll be in that situation, I will probably know how to deal with it better.

Q. Would you have preferred a final with Jelena [Janković] with the same results?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Well, it would be amazing if we could have had a Serbian final. But I guess we would both be very nervous, and it would be maybe a little bit different match. Because I know her better, and it would be her first final as well. So, maybe it will be easier for both of us.

But, anyway, this was a great experience, and I can actually learn from Justine, because she's such a great champion. And I'm sure she was nervous as well, but she just dealt with that better than I did today. And I can learn from her.

Q. When things were going wrong, what was your feeling when you're on the court in front of all 15,000 people? Did you feel uncomfortable or what?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Well, definitely, it's frustrating. Because I know I can perform better, and I know I can play even better shots, and it was not coming. And my serve was not really working. So it was frustrating for me to see that happening. Because I was expecting a good match, and tough match, and I was really hoping it could be much closer.

But again, as I said, it was the first time I was in that situation, and it was many emotions. So, yeah, I guess I can just learn from this, and maybe I can watch a match again, and see what I did wrong.

Q. Justine is not very tall; she doesn't seem very strong. But what is the impression when you are in front of her in such an important match?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Well, she's mentally very tough opponent, also, physically, she moves great. So it's very hard to hit winners against her. And you have to hit many shots. She forced you to win points few times, and until you actually finished the points. I was expecting that today. And she had time to turn very powerful shots as well. But I mean, just if my serve would have worked, and I think it could be a much different match.

Q. If you could go back and do anything again in preparation for the final, maybe not get a good night's sleep or work on your serve, what would you do?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Well, I still think I did everything I could. Just - I had a really good practice yesterday, and good preparation today, and I was really feeling comfortable coming into a final. But I just, I guess, just, once I was on the court and I was in the situation, I was thinking more about the occasion than about my game. And that's what I was afraid of for today's match.

But looking back, it just, basically, nothing you can really control. You can just try to learn. And now I know the feeling. So next time, probably, when that feeling comes, I will know how to deal with it better. And I can just learn from this. And looking back, I can't regret anything I did.

Q. This tournament is a tremendous triumph still for you and for Serbia?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Yes, for sure, it is. And I had an amazing two weeks here, and I played some really good tennis. I beat a few top players, so that gave me a lot of confidence. And this is whole new situation I had to deal with. And I'm really proud of myself what I achieved these two weeks. And I'm very excited for upcoming tournaments, and for other chances I'm going to get.

Q. Could it have been a different match if you had had a 2-Love lead? And can we say that today you had to deal more with yourself and your mental preparation than with Justine?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Yes, I think that's for sure. If I could control my emotions better, it would be much different match. And as I said, emotions, nerves were a lot reflecting on my serve. So if that wouldn't be there, I think it would be much different match.

As I said, I can just learn from this, and I can also learn watching her performing in a finals. So, it's a great experience, anyway. So next time I'm in this situation, I can maybe deal with it better, differently.

Q. After yesterday's tough loss to Rafael Nadal, Novak [Đoković] said that his ambitions for his career were eventually to challenge Roger Federer, to challenge Nadal, to become world No. 1. After today's loss, looking back on your tournament, what can you say about your future ambitions, one month, August, next year?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Well, for sure, I have ambitions to win Grand Slams and reach a position of No. 1. But I think this was a great experience for me. And in order to reach that, I have to go through this situations and through lot of tough matches, and also dealing with the nerves and the pressure.

But I can learn also from past month I had. And I can just take positives. And I feel I'm on the right way. And there is - there is many good players out there at the moment, and they all want to achieve those goals. So it's just who is better at that point.

And Justine, she's a great player, and she plays very well here. So it was tough match for me. But I'm sure if I keep doing what I'm doing, I can have another opportunity to reach that. And hopefully next time I can use them.

Q. Do you have still contact with your previous coach Zoltan [Kuharsky]? Did he congratulate you for the two weeks here or not?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Yes, I saw him here first week, and, yes, he always sends me text of congratulations, and we have good relations, still.

Q. Did you miss Sven [Groeneveld] today or yesterday for preparing this match, or not?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: I would think so, yes. I would say yes, because maybe it would be a little bit different if he could give me some tactics or some headlines. But still, I mean, I can learn from this. And on the end of the day, we are alone on the court, and we have to find a way to win on our own. And I couldn't find that today. But hopefully, next time it will be better.

Q. The year is still 50-50. Your powerful game shoots grass, shoots also the court, too, on the US Open. Do you think we'll see you again next year in a big final?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Well, that's my goal. And I think my game can be really good on grass. And especially now, I try to come more often to the net. So hopefully, that will be very good for Wimbledon.

But I think, obviously, this result here and in Berlin is going to help me a lot with my confidence, and also getting into big tournaments again. But I just want to take it match by match, and try to enjoy too much separately. And yeah, no matter who against you play, it's another step forward if you win. And sometimes also you can learn more from losses than wins, so it's just important to take it step by step.

Q. Is it the first time in your career that you could feel your nerves like this?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Yes, probably. There was maybe another time when, first time I played a big tournament, Tier I in Z&#252;rich, and I played last round of quallies to get into a main draw, I was a little bit nervous. But not half as I was today. But I think that's something I reach for first time in my life. And it's amazing, so I - I'm not too surprised that I had that nerves.

Q. But during the match, were you angry about your serves to realise that you couldn't control your nerves?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Yeah, I was a little bit - little bit angry with myself, because I knew I could perform better. And I knew I should have taken maybe a little bit more time. But still, I was maybe even rushing too much. So that's - that was really frustrating to realise that after the match.

But, it was another match, and against a great opponent, so, yeah, next time, it will be, maybe different.

Q. What do you think about Justine Henin reading the notes of Carlos Rodr&#237;guez during the game, and have you seen it?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: No, I haven't seen. But I guess we all have to find our ways to perform the best we can. And if that helps her, that's good for her, and that maybe helps her to relax or to be focused on what she has to do.

And for me, looking for myself, I prefer to talk more about it before the match, and then have a picture going on the court. But if it works well for her, then, it's good.

Q. At the very beginning, you had such a wonderful start, and then there were problems. When you started to get nervous, what did you say to yourself? What were your thoughts?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: I was just trying to relax, to move little bit better. Because once you start to get nervous, you get tense, and you can't really move. And just every mistake, you take too emotional. So I was just trying to relax, to breathe deep. And maybe I should have taken even more time between points.

But, yeah, just, it was very - I was very excited. So even if I would try to relax and then look back on the court, it was like, "Come on, now this point." So the emotions would be back, and not really gone away.

Q. She has won every Slam, but not Wimbledon. How do you like Justine's chances on grass?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Well, I think she's - she's obviously, a great player on the clay, and she can play well also on the hard. But I think she can perform well in Wimbledon as well. It's just a little bit different game, but with her slice and her volleys, I think she can reach far there.

Henin's press-conference

MARTINA NAVR&#193;TILOV&#193;: I don't want to take away from your fire, Justine, but congratulations. And, and here is Jaroslav Kr&#225;lik. We did an exhibition here. And as a special gift to you, because apparently, tomorrow the men's champion is getting something special on the court. And we said, "What's the woman's champion getting?"

And they said, "Nothing."

And I said, "Well, okay. So we'll fix that."

And we made a painting on the Centre Court on Tuesday, and here it is. There's a little writing, you can read that later. There you go.

And this signifies the draw, and all of the matches that you had to play to get to it. This is the final point. And the point is made - everything is made of seven colours, because there were seven rounds. And this point was made of 120 dots because there were 127 matches played altogether.

So congratulations. A little something for you to remember.

JUSTINE HENIN: Thank you. Thanks a lot. Thank you, Martina.

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English, first.

Q. How would you like to be referred to, "Queen of Clay" or "Lady of Clay"?

JUSTINE HENIN: I didn't think about that question. No, "Queen of Clay" is good, I think. No, it's amazing. I still don't realise what's happening now. When I was a little girl and dreaming of coming here and playing the tournament and winning it, then I did it four times, and three times in a row, and two times without losing a set. I think it's - it's just great.

I wanted this victory so much. You cannot imagine how strong I felt, even if I was a little bit nervous at the beginning of the match. But I couldn't lose this one. I really wanted to win another title here in Paris. And it's a lot of emotions for me. And I'm very, very happy and proud about it.

Q. It was a magical end to a magical story, especially with your family here. Is that really what made it so special for you, above and beyond the matches won and the extra title?

JUSTINE HENIN: Yeah, I think, you know, the match has been pretty easy, even if at the beginning of the match, she had the control for two games. And then she's been pretty nervous, and I did my job perfectly. I served well, and I did what I had to do on the court.

But the atmosphere, and what I felt when I won, and the fact that, yeah, my family was there, and the good people around me. And it's been, yeah, a huge step in my life in the last few months. And I was glad I could give them this victory. Because everyone suffered a lot from the situation in the last few years. And today, finally, we are united in this joy, and we can share this moment, and it's great. And I feel so happy that I can offer that to them.

Q. You pick them out in the crowd right after the match?


Q. Were you able to pick them out all in the crowd after the match?

JUSTINE HENIN: No, I know where they were. I know where they were. And I looked at them, and just looking at each other, we understood a lot of things. And Carlos [Rodr&#237;guez, her coach], also, was very proud that I could give this victory to my family. It was important when I told Carlos that I was in touch again with my family, he wanted me so much to win a Grand Slam and to offer that to them. And we talked a lot about that.

And first Grand Slam after everything that happened, and I can do it. So emotionally, I had to deal with so many things in the last few months - good things, bad things. But I just tried to stay very focused, concentrate, get my motivation, and just try to be happy on the court, and I felt great today.

Q. Can you tell us, first, which members of your family were there? And I think you spoke to your father for the first time last month, was it, after how long a period?

JUSTINE HENIN: Three, three months ago, I think. But I just want to keep that, I mean, really private how it did happen and everything. But my brothers and my sister were here today and my father.

Q. Your two brothers and your sister?

JUSTINE HENIN: Yeah, and my father wished me on TV, but we talk to each other every day. And it's great, yeah. Not everything is easy, but it's great.

Q. Since you have been so private with us about your family and other feelings, I wondered was it difficult for you to acknowledge them publicly in front of 20,000 people today? Did you think about that before you did it?

JUSTINE HENIN: No, not at all. I just, at the end, that's the way I felt, and I think it was great to do it. And I just - that was my heart that was talking. And you don't - you know, it's, yeah, you say what you feel, and it's been great. It's been an unbelievable moment for everyone. So the way everything, what happened in the past is the past. And I just want to move forward, and look forward, and enjoy every moment of my life with them back in it now.

Q. To handle those emotions, even if they're joyful emotions, that's disruptive.

JUSTINE HENIN: It's tough, yeah.

Q. So, what's new about you that you can do this now that maybe you couldn't have done it a year ago?

JUSTINE HENIN: Yeah, I've been a little bit surprised, because it's been hard for me, everything I lived in the last few months, ups and downs, you know, I mean, good things, bad things. And then I just realised that it's life. And life is ups and downs and you have to accept it. And you just have to deal with it.

But I've been a little bit surprised how I could handle with the situation. It's been tough. And Carlos helped me so much, because we discussed a lot about that. We knew the situation is different now, and there are good things about it and things that we have to readjust also.

And it's been a great adventure again in the last few weeks to build this victory. And we've been very close, Carlos and me, one more time. And it's really a team victory.

Q. You've played other Grand-Slam finals, and won some and lost some. But here you're perfect. You've never dropped a set. How do you explain that kind of dominance?

JUSTINE HENIN: Well, I don't know. It's like my garden. I just feel home over here. And I always walk on the court with the goal to give my best and be ready for a tough fight. And if the match is getting easier than what I could expect for, that's pretty good news.

But I had a tough draw over here. And I knew it when I agreed - when I looked at the draw. I was at the draw-ceremony, and I wasn't very pleased to play Serena [Williams] in the quarters, and it's been a tough part. But finally day after day, I said it two days ago, when you arrive in the Grand Slams, it's long. When you look seven matches, pretty tough names on the road, and you have to build something day after day, and I did.

And I just enjoyed every moment of it. So it's great.

Q. First of all, to double-fault on the first game and then go down 40/Love and give her the encouragement that she could have a big day today. Was there a shot you hit in that second game which relieved all of the nervousness that you brought on the court? And the second question, you saw a lot of forehands today. Were you surprised at how many forehands she gave you to hit?

JUSTINE HENIN: Well, that game was important. That was important to really stay close to her in the match, very early in the match. And there was, I think, that shot to come back at deuce, I think, so I did hit one or two pretty good forehands. And I felt a little bit more free after that.

But I also felt she started to really be nervous. And the thing is that especially on my return, I was very far from the baseline, and that's good. That's what I have to do against a player who is serving so well. All of the other players, against big serves, they stay on the baseline. And it's easier for the opponent to hit winners after a return like that.

So I just took my time. And I was very far from my baseline, but I played pretty long on the return. And she wasn't really ready for this either.

Q. And the forehand question?

JUSTINE HENIN: Yeah, I think, it's been tough situation for her, first Grand-Slam final. And she gave me a lot of points. And I just had to be very solid, very intense, and I served pretty well, actually. I was happy about that, too.

So, no, it's great. Everything was great.

Q. You opened up a bunch of envelopes throughout the match. Can you tell me what they were, and then what the one said that you opened after you had won?

JUSTINE HENIN: That one I'm going to keep it for me. Sorry. I'm sure that's the one that you want to know, but it's just Carlos and me. And the other ones, it's tactically, so you don't care about that. So, what I have to do on my serve, on my return at that time. And so, nothing special.

But like I said, I had some troubles in the first, with my concentration and everything, and Carlos wanted me to be very, very professional on every point, and just remind me a few things at that time, pretty tight times during the match.

But the last one, no. I mean, the thing I can say is that he's proud of me, for sure.

Q. Four titles here. Are you still hungry? You want more? Because you are still very young.

JUSTINE HENIN: Yeah, thank you. I appreciate that. No, every time I come here, it's to win the tournament. And I did it four times, and I don't know what is the future going to be. But I will give my best again, every year I will come.

Q. This is such an incredible year for any person, let alone a world-class athlete. What word or two do you feel inwardly? Do you feel joy? Relief? Pride? What quality do you feel about this year?

JUSTINE HENIN: I wouldn't say pride, but joy, for sure. I mean, joy, because I can enjoy every moment now. And I take my decisions. I just try to build something, yeah, pretty strong. I just turned 25. I just want to know how I'm going to be happy in my life. And I did big steps, huge steps, and life is short. So, yeah, just happy, very happy.

Q. And last summer could you imagine being where you are now in your life?

JUSTINE HENIN: No, no, not at all, no. It's amazing how life can change. But it's for every person the same. It's because me, we talk a lot about it, because I'm - yeah, I'm in front of you now, but I'm sure that a lot of you had some trouble, ups and downs in their lives, and that it's tough for everyone. But we come back stronger, for sure.

Q. Obviously, you really wanted to win it third time in a row. And the match, after the slow beginning, kind of went very fast for you. She had psychological problems with her inexperience.


Q. And did you feel at any point that this cannot be so easy? Probably, she might do a comeback or things will not work out as easily. Did you have this kind of feeling?

JUSTINE HENIN: No, I never thought about that. Because you just have to play point after point and be ready for any kind of situation. So I was ready for a big fight. I was ready for an easy match. I was ready for everything, you know. It's good not to expect too many things, and just live the moment, you know, that one.

But at the end, I showed I was really, you know, motivated and on every point. It was important for me to show that I wanted to win every point of the match. And don't let her come back. That was very important.

Q. Ana didn't have any lucky papers. You mentioned Carlos a lot. Would you say that you maybe have the tightest relationship coach/player-wise in the WTA, and that's the way to your success?

JUSTINE HENIN: Yeah, that's for sure. Yeah, he is a big part. You know, it's 11 years, and that's pretty unique. Not a lot of people, just a few people can do it. And it's tough. You need a lot of respect, you need to be strong, and you need to love each other a lot, also. And I think we have everything in our relationship. And it's just great.

And his family, also, how they support me. How they can deal with the situation. And it's just amazing. We got closer and closer in the last few months, even if Carlos wants to keep some distance. But I think he starts to realise that we - it's much more than a professional relationship. And he respects me a lot as a player, but much more important, as person.

And it's been amazing how he's been strong in the last few months with me.

Q. Talking about love, there were several 'I Love You's from the crowd. It would have sounded better in French, right?

JUSTINE HENIN: Well, you know, I'm not really focused on that now in my life, so, thank you.

Q. Was the best part of your two weeks here in Paris after the match when you thanked your family?

JUSTINE HENIN: Uh-huh, it was the best moment, for sure, yeah. But you need to - yeah, a Grand Slam is hard, and you have to work hard every day. And I enjoyed every moment of my last two weeks, every moment - on the court, off the court. And they also came back, a few matches with my brothers, my sister - it wasn't only today. So I did good spend a lot of time with them. I don't know. Yeah, it's been a great victory for that, for sure.

Q. Are you going to stay for the men's final, and who would you pick?

JUSTINE HENIN: I hope I can stay, yeah. I would love to watch the match. So we'll see. And I would love Federer to win, but I'm not quite sure that's going to happen, so...

I wish, I wish, really. But the best will win. They are both great players, great champions. But what I saw from Nadal is pretty strong.

THE MODERATOR: Questions in French, please.

Q. The pink shirt, pink life, La vie en rose?

JUSTINE HENIN: It just happened at the right moment. I like pink in my life, even besides tennis, outside of tennis. Modestly I can say this colour suits me. I like that colour.

Everything that happens in my life is wonderful right now. And if I can be rewarded on the court, then it's a great moment for my career and for my life.

Q. You were broken immediately, and you were down 40/Love. What did you think in your mind?

JUSTINE HENIN: It was not going well for me, but I kept calm on every point. I didn't start - well, that match, I didn't have good feelings. I was afraid of her power. There was no reason for that though, because in that match, in the beginning, she didn't prove she was going to push me a lot. But I knew I had to be afraid of her. And I needed to become clearer about what was going to happen. I reacted to come back. And what helped me a lot was that I served very well. And I was explaining that in English earlier. But my tactics of stepping far behind the baseline for returning was a very important tactical decision, because I was able to return well, and this helped me a lot in that match.

Q. Weren't you afraid that the emotional side of things would have too much influence on that match?

JUSTINE HENIN: No, I didn't panic. I knew I was not starting that match well. I can tell you, I had a horrible night. My herpes came out again, and I said to my doctor, "Well, I see everything is fine, it's great."

So, really, I was a bit anxious. But also, I really wanted to do well. And very early in the match, the match turned over. And then I knew I was going to be able to keep it up until the end.

Q. There was another moment at 5-2 in the end of the match, 30/Love, we saw you with your fist?

JUSTINE HENIN: Yes, often I had bad surprises at the level of the match like this one against Serena, for example. It's really at that moment when you're sure that you won it, that you can come out of it. So I didn't tremble at all at the end of the match. I never was afraid to win. And from that point of view, I think I made a lot of progress.

Q. Your opponent said she had a very good night, contrary to you.

JUSTINE HENIN: This is something you learn.

Q. You and her manage your emotions differently. It was her first final. Do you think the fact that it was her first final and you're experienced made the difference?

JUSTINE HENIN: Well, certainly. But I can tell you, my stress is as big today as the first time I won a Grand Slam. The pressure is there, the tension goes up, and you suffer from it a little bit. But I think you need that if you want to win.

It's been a long time. I didn't spend a night of eight hours or nine hours, so I was reassured in a certain way, because I thought everything is normal.

Q. Does this trophy have a special meaning to you compared to the others? Is it different each time?

JUSTINE HENIN: It's different each time. But this one, for me, is like the first one and like last year. The one of 2005, I don't know. I can't explain that. It's a symbolic feeling.

But this year, of course, it is very special. It's my victory, and that's it. I can say I built it, well, not alone, I had people around me, but I was able to fight by myself, and it represents a lot for me.

Q. Again, you win this tournament without losing a set, two years in a row. Did you have moments where you had doubts?

JUSTINE HENIN: The first week was difficult for me. I was not feeling well. I was trying to manage things. But after I won against Bammer, I thought I should talk with Carlos, because I knew that after that I would be able to play freely or else I would fall against Serena.

So this talk with Carlos at that moment helped me a lot. And I knew also that reaching the second week and being pushed a little bit would help me to play my best tennis. So I confess, during the first week, I didn't feel perfectly fit. Of course, I managed things very well, but I needed to think about things. And the discussion I had on Sunday evening helped me to start a new tournament in the second week. And from then on, I had no doubts anymore.

Q. Since the semi-final, you started using little techniques of the envelopes, like the Williams sisters?

JUSTINE HENIN: I didn't decide that.

Q. So I heard, for example, you had to open it at 5-2, and today it was the same. And it was at 4-1 also?

JUSTINE HENIN: It was when I was three games ahead. And also when I was going to serve or return for the match. And I had one last one after the match.

Q. So are you going to continue to use that method? Because we saw on television there were little instructions, we could read a little bit.

JUSTINE HENIN: It's not secret. Because Ivanovic doesn't understand French anyway - well, I think so! Well, Carlos will always surprise me. I didn't know he would do that one day, because we are against coaching. But it helped me.

Of course I was feeling strong. I knew I could pull out of that. But, that's it. And I know you like it, because then you can write about that. <smiling>

Q. You are a favourite in the tournament, and you are often in the semi or the final. Are you able to manage this status of favourite? How can you do that? Very often you are there when needed.

JUSTINE HENIN: Well, I've been very consistent during the past years, it's true. Always, I am very stressed before my first rounds. It's only at the end of the tournament that I feel better. I feel free. I feel myself. But I am an anxious person anyway. So I never want to miss any points. I always want to be there when needed.

I always was very consistent because I had a very strict discipline in my life, also. I don't want to lose control, and sometimes when I do things wrong, I can feel it. I have an angel telling me that I should be back on track, and Carlos knows me very well. And I need this discipline to be able to do well. I need someone to help me find the right path. And once I'm on it, then it's okay.

Q. If I understood well, you said you were happier than last year. Is this year the year where you felt the happiest?

JUSTINE HENIN: Yes. Each single second counted during this French Open. I enjoy my life even better now. As I always say, you have to fight a lot in life, but when you come out of a fight, you feel stronger. And all this brings me a lot of confidence.

I think if I hadn't had the courage to go forward, I would have had a lot of regrets. And I am very proud and happy that I was able to do it. Things are not always simple, they are still not simple, but it's important to go forward.

Q. Will you be ready to welcome your father here next year?

JUSTINE HENIN: We'll see. I need to take my time. We talked to each other; I knew he was watching television to me. He sent me a message. He's very happy after the match. He's very proud of his daughter. But just take my time. I know one day he'll be with me, beside me on the court.

Q. You said you were stressed before the final. Stress is often being scared. What are you scared of?

JUSTINE HENIN: Of myself, maybe. No. But I believe stress is something positive. It gives you energy. Stress should not inhibit me. It should help me to build something. And this is something I was able to change. Because at a certain time in my life, I was blocked by stress. And now I can use that stress to make something positive out of it.

And I'm sure the best athletes feel the same. So being scared, no, it's not being afraid. Your life is not in danger. But it's being good at the right moment. We never know what is going to happen.

I've been trying, giving everything I have during the past 20 years, and, of course, I want a reward for it.

Thank you very much.


Henin seals French Open hat-trick [CEEFAX 491]

Belgium's Justine Henin won her third straight French Open title and fourth in total with victory over Serbia's Ana Ivanović in Saturday's final.

The Belgian overcame a nervous opening game to win 6-1 6-2 and claim the sixth Grand Slam crown of her career.

Ivanović broke the champion in the opening game but let the advantage slip immediately and never recovered.

Henin swept through the first set and broke early in the second on her way to winning in just 65 minutes.

Title hat-trick for Henin [Teletext 496]

Top seed Justine Henin's greater experience told as she coasted to her third consecutive Roland Garros title.

An upset looked on the cards when Ana Ivanović, playing in her first Grand Slam final, broke Henin in the first game, but the Belgian hit back straight away and cruised through the first set.

Serbian Ivanović could not find the consistency that got her to the final and fell to a 6-1 6-2 defeat.

Henin eyes more titles [Teletext 496]
Justine Henin vowed not to stop at four after clinching another French Open title at Roland Garros.

The Belgian's 6-1 6-2 victory over Ana Ivanovic saw her become only the second woman in the Open era, after Monica Seles, to win three in a row.

Henin said: "I have just turned 25 and I don't know what the future will be. But I will give my best again. It's like my garden. I feel at home here."

Occasion too much for teen Ivanović [Teletext 495->496]
Ana succumbs to nerves [Teletext 496]

Ana Ivanović admitted nerves got the better of her as she fell to a crushing defeat in the French Open final.

The Serbian teenager, in her first Grand Slam final, broke Justine Henin in the opening game and went 40/0 up on her own serve before it all fell apart and she was beaten 6-1 6-2.

Ivanović said: "I started getting nervous. I couldn't control the serve, and she used that well."

Ivanović admits to feeling nerves [CEEFAX 490->491]
Ana Ivanović admitted she had been affected by nerves as she lost 6-1 6-2 to Justine Henin in her first Grand Slam final at the French Open.

"In the beginning I felt OK," she said. "I was trying to put the nerves aside but all of a sudden it hit me and I had so much trouble with my ball toss."

"She's a great player and she could use the opportunities she had.

"She's been there before, she's won Grand Slams many times before, so she knew how to deal with the nerves."

Henin carves her name alongside claycourt greats
By Pritha Sarkar
PARIS, June 9 (Reuters) - Justine Henin carved her name alongside the great figures of claycourt-tennis on Saturday with her 6-1 6-2 win over 19-year-old Serbian Ana Ivanovic.

The Belgian became the first woman since tennis turned professional in 1968 to win back-to-back Roland Garros crowns without dropping a set.

Henin scrutinised hand-written notes during the changeovers which reminded her "You are the best" and instructed her to "get to the net".

Fittingly, the world number one swiped away a high volley on match-point to seal a hat-trick of victories in Paris. She became only the second woman, after Monica Seles, to achieve the feat since World War Two.

As her racket went flying out of her hands, the Belgian leaned on the net and held her head in disbelief. After taking a moment to absorb the enormity of her achievement, she tilted her head skywards and held her arms aloft in triumph.

"The adventure continues... third time in a row at Roland Garros and it feels incredible," the beaming six-times Grand-Slam champion said, tightly clutching the trophy.

"I've had tough times at the start of the year, but this has made it all worthwhile. I've found my family again, and I dedicate this to my family," she added, referring to her reconciliation with her father and siblings after years of estrangement.

The Belgian has sought solace on various tennis-courts around the world since her marriage to Pierre-Yves Hardenne broke down at the turn of the year, and nowhere does she feel more at home than on final's day on Philippe Chatrier Court.

The last time she dropped a set here was in the fourth round in 2005.

It took Henin, also a champion in 2003, only 65 minutes to finish another masterly campaign in the French capital and take her record streak of consecutive sets to 35.


After trampling over world number three Svetlana Kuznetsova and second-ranked Maria Sharapova to reach her first major final, seventh seed Ivanovic had harboured hopes of sabotaging Henin's path to greatness.

Instead, she suffered the same fate as the Belgian's last 20 opponents at the claycourt Grand Slam.

"It's been a very exciting two weeks for me," said Ivanovic, who had been hoping to become the first player representing Serbia to capture a Grand Slam.

"I'm really happy to be here, but I would have been even more happy if I could have held the trophy."

Yet to sit her final exams in school, Ivanovic appeared to have done her homework well when she fired down crunching forehand winners in the opening game to stun Henin, who dropped her serve with a tame double fault.

If the champion was rattled, she did not show it.

As Ivanovic's serve malfunctioned time and again, Henin ran away with eight games before the Serbian broke the spell to hold serve for the first time in the match at 6-1 2-1 down.

The reprieve only delayed the inevitable, and by the end it was hard not to feel sorry for the Serb, who honed her skills playing in an empty swimming-pool as bombs fell on Belgrade.

Henin joins claycourt-greats Chris Evert, Steffi Graf, Margaret Court and Helen Wills Moody in having won four or more titles here since 1925, the year the championships were opened to non-French players.

It also boosted her bank-balance by a cool 1,000,000 euros ($1.34 million).

Henin completes French Open hat-trick
By Patrick Vignal
PARIS (Reuters) - World number one Justine Henin completed a rare French Open hat-trick by crushing Serbia's Ana Ivanovic 6-1 6-2 in the women's final on Saturday.

Belgian Henin totally dominated her 19-year-old opponent, seeded seventh, to become the first woman to win three successive Roland Garros titles since Monica Seles in 1992.

Ivanovic, the first player representing Serbia to feature in the final of a Grand-Slam tournament, challenged the top seed in the first couple of games but then collapsed.

The 25-year-old Henin, who also won here in 2003, soon took control and stayed on top until sealing victory with a forehand volley on the first match-point after 65 minutes of a one-sided contest.

Back at her best after the breakdown of her marriage and her subsequent withdrawal from this year's Australian Open, Henin looked far too strong for Ivanovic, who crushed world number two Maria Sharapova in the semi-finals.

"I was a bit tense at first, but then everything went well," said Henin, who did not drop a set in the tournament.

"I've been through difficult moments at the start of the year, but I fought to get over them, and now I'm really enjoying myself again," she added.

"When I was little girl, I never dreamed this would happen to me."


Ivanovic was only the shadow of the exciting newcomer who had thrilled the Paris crowd earlier in the tournament. At times she looked helpless.

"There will be more finals," she said. "I started okay, but then I became nervous and I couldn't control my serve. What can I say? She's an amazing player."

Looking sluggish at first, Henin saved two break-points in the opening game, but handed her opponent a third with an unforced error before dropping her service-game with a double fault.

The combative Belgian reacted immediately by breaking back with a little help from the netcord before holding serve.

Henin then moved in command by breaking Ivanovic in the fourth game, courtesy of a double fault from the Serbian, and never let go.

After another break in the sixth game, Henin served for the set, wrapping it up with a service winner on the first set point.

A clumsy Ivanovic dropped serve again in the first game of the second set with another double fault.

The issue already looked beyond doubt at that stage - an impression that was confirmed when Henin managed another break in the fifth game.

Henin earned three match-points, but needed only one to end Ivanovic's suffering and extend her reign as the queen of the Paris claycourt-tournament.

Henin routs Ivanovic for third straight French Open victory
June 9, 2007
By Steve Douglas, Special to PA SportsTicker
PARIS (Ticker) - Top seed Justine Henin ruthlessly dispatched Serbian teenager Ana Ivanovic in straight sets to win the French Open women's-singles title on Saturday.

Henin, the world number one, needed little more than an hour to clinch a one-sided 6-1 6-2 rout on a sun-kissed Philippe Chatrier court at Roland Garros.

It was her third straight French Open crown, and the Belgian joins Chris Evert, Steffi Graf, Margaret Court and Helen Wills Moody in winning four or more titles at Roland Garros since 1925, the year the championships were opened to non-French players.

Henin is only the second woman in the open era to win three straight French Open titles, joining Monica Seles who won here from 1990-1992. What is more impressive, Henin did it by not dropping a set in the entire tournament.

It was an embarrassing afternoon for Ivanovic, the 19-year-old who was appearing in her first Grand Slam final. Her time will surely come, but once the nerves got to her in the second game of the match, there was no coming back.

Ivanovic could not have started off any better, burying a crosscourt forehand winner on the very first point before going on to claim a 1-0 lead by breaking Henin after a double fault.

The Serb then went 40/0 up on her own serve, but her game crumbled around her. Nerves began to kick in, as two ball tosses went awry and one of her first serves went well long.

The wily Henin took advantage and, having recovered her poise, ended up breaking back thanks to a fortunate netcord on break-point. From then on, it was all Henin.

She held and then broke again, in the fourth game, to go 3-1 up when her despairing opponent double-faulted.

Henin, turning the screw without ever needing to perform to her maximum, had soon established a three-game cushion after holding in the fifth game.

Errors were pouring into Ivanovic's game, and with the teenager's serve faltering, Henin reaped the rewards by breaking for the third successive occasion when the Serb powered a basic forehand long.

Henin then held to take the set in 34 minutes.

The second set proved just as one-sided, despite attempts by the crowd to fire up Ivanovic.

Her malfunctioning serve was broken for the fourth time in the match as a double fault at 40/15 allowed Henin to establish a firm grip on the match.

Henin held her first service-game of the second set to 30 to go 2-0 ahead. Ivanovic bounced back, albeit temporarily, to hold in the next game, but nothing was coming easy as the beaverish Henin made her work for every point.

The top seed went 3-1 up with a comfortable hold, and then broke to 30 when the now-beleaguered Ivanovic smashed her 23rd error of the match wide.

Henin went to the brink of victory when she again held with ease, but Ivanovic managed to take the game beyond the hour-mark by holding to love to make it 5-2.

Henin ruined any hopes of an Ivanovic comeback by clinching the contest on the first of her three match-points with a punched forehand at the net.

Henin wins 3rd consecutive French Open title
By Steven Wine, AP Sports Writer
June 9, 2007
PARIS (AP) -- Justine Henin sat in her chair during a changeover, opened an envelope, and pulled out a note from her coach bearing the word "Allez" - French for "Let's go."

When it comes to the French Open, Henin is fluent.

The Belgian claimed her third consecutive Roland Garros title and fourth overall on Saturday, taking advantage of 19-year-old Ana Ivanovic's nervous play to win 6-1 6-2.

Henin closed out the victory with a forehand volley, then flipped away her racket, buried her head in her hands, leaned on the net and exhaled.

"It's surreal to win for the third time in a row," Henin said. "I am struggling to take it in."

She became the first woman since Monica Seles in 1990-92 to win three consecutive Roland Garros titles, and only the second since 1937.

"Justine is really at home here," said her brother, Thomas. "This is really her home-terrain."

Henin, whose mother died in 1994, only recently re-established a connection with her estranged father and siblings. Her sister and two brothers attended the match, and she said she talks daily with her father, who watched on TV.

"It has been a huge step in my life in the last few months, and I was glad I could give them this victory, because everyone suffered a lot from the situation in the last few years," Henin said. "And today, finally, we are united in this joy and we can share this moment, and it's great. And I feel so happy that I can offer that to them."

Henin's camp also includes her long-time coach, Carlos Rodr&#237;guez. He said she opened two notes suggesting tactics and offering encouragement during the match, and another note when it ended.

"What I'm saying with the note is, 'This is what you have done to get to this stage. Now continue,"' Rodr&#237;guez said. "It's simple."

Ivanovic, a Serb playing in her first Grand-Slam final, started well before her play deteriorated. The first sign of trouble came when she awkwardly hit a serve 10 feet long, prompting groans from the crowd. She double-faulted to fall behind 3-1, and the mistakes came in flurries after that.

Ivanovic struggled in particular with her serve.

"All of a sudden I started getting nervous, and my ball-toss was going everywhere," she said. "I didn't think about moving well or where I should play, and she could use that.

"I was thinking more about the occasion than about my game. That's what I was afraid of."

Ivanovic committed 26 unforced errors to 13 for Henin, and double-faulted five times.

The women's final was tight at the start. Henin trailed in each of the first four games, which took 24 minutes, but after taking a 3-1 lead, she won 18 of the next 22 points.

"She gave me a lot of points," Henin said, "and I just had to be very solid."

Pumping her fist after nearly every point she won, Henin kept up the pressure in the second set with her vast repertoire, which ranged from delicate backhands to overhead smashes.

Ivanovic never overcame her nerves, framing consecutive shots during one rally in the final game. Henin aggressively closed out the victory two points later, belting a forehand into the corner, and charging forward to finish off the tournament with a volley.

"She didn't give me much of a window," Ivanovic said. "She has been there before and has won Grand Slams. She knew how to deal with the nerves, and for me obviously it was the first time.

"I guess I can use this as experience. Next time in that situation, I'll probably know how to deal with it better."

Henin won the French Open for the first time in 2003, and now has six Grand-Slam titles, moving ahead of Venus Williams and Martina Hingis. Among active women, she trails only Serena Williams, who has won eight. [She also trails Monica Seles, who has won nine, and whom I will continue to consider "active" until she announces her retirement.]

Henin beat Serena Williams this week in the quarter-finals.

She has won all four of her French-Open finals in straight sets, never losing more than eight games. She has reached the final of the past five majors she has played, but she missed this year's Australian Open because she was separating from her husband.

"I had some very tough times at the start of the year," she said. "I hung in there these last few months. And now I've found an immense pleasure on the court once more."

Henin extended her Open-Era record winning-streak of 35 consecutive sets at Roland Garros. She became the first top-seeded woman to win the title since Steffi Graf in 1996.

The Belgian became the fifth woman since 1925 to win the French four times. Chris Evert leads with seven titles.

The next challenge for Henin: winning her first Wimbledon-title next month to complete a career Grand Slam.

"We are going to enjoy this as much as possible," Rodr&#237;guez said. "But in a few days, we're going to be back to work."

Henin won $1.34 million, equal to the men's champion. Ivanovic, the first player to represent Serbia in a major final, received $670,000.

Reunited with family, Henin wins 4th French Open
June 9, 2007
PARIS (AP) -- An hour after clutching her fourth French Open trophy, Justine Henin cradled other precious cargo in her arms: her 6-week-old niece.

<snip sentimental drivel>

This was Henin's fifth consecutive final at a major she entered; she skipped the Australian Open in January while working through personal issues, including separating from her husband.

Back in the Grand Slam spotlight, back at her favourite tournament, Henin was as good as ever at Roland Garros, where she's won 35 consecutive sets.

"It's like my garden," said Henin, 4-0 in finals at the French Open, 2-4 in finals at the other Grand Slams. "I just feel home over here."

Henin is the first person since Monica Seles in 1990-92 to win three French Opens in a row.

Despite all of her experience, Henin began slowly Saturday, double-faulting to get broken in the first game, then falling behind 40/love in the second.

The 19-year-old Ivanovic was the one in her first Grand-Slam final, but it was Henin who appeared nervous at the outset, perhaps burdened by wanting to win so badly with her younger sister and two older brothers in the stands. They travelled from Belgium to root for her at the 1999 French Open, before their falling-out -- then didn't attend another match of hers until last week.

After one flubbed forehand in the first game, Henin glared at the ball, as though it were to blame for the miscue. In the second game, though, it was Ivanovic who began to get tense.

"It just hit me, I guess," Ivanovic said.

The first sign of trouble came on her awkward serve-tosses; she had to catch the ball and start again. Henin broke back to 1-1 with a backhand that clipped the net and danced over. The next time Ivanovic served, she double-faulted twice, including at break-point, then hung her head.

That was part of a stretch in which Henin won 19 of 23 points and eight consecutive games.

By then, fans were regularly chanting, "Ana! Ana!" in hopes of getting her going. But Ivanovic kept making mistakes - she finished with 26 unforced errors, twice as many as Henin, plus five double-faults - and her face was flushed.

"If I could control my emotions better," said Ivanovic, who upset No. 2 Maria Sharapova in the semi-finals, "it would be a much different match."

Maybe. But Henin was superb and never let up. Even when Ivanovic made yet another miscue to make it 6-1 4-1, Henin let out an "Allez!" ("Let's go!") as the ball sailed out, as if things were tight and the point were vital.

"It was important for me to show that I wanted to win every point," Henin said. "And not let her come back."

To reinforce that, Henin's coach, Carlos Rodr&#237;guez, gave her three envelopes containing notes - one to be opened if leading by three games, another if she served for the match, and a third if she won.

"What I'm saying with the note is, 'This is what you have done to get to this stage, now continue,"' Rodr&#237;guez said. "It's simple."

TV cameras caught the second note, which Henin dutifully opened during the changeover before she served out the last game. Among the messages, handwritten in all capital letters: "Allez."

Four points later, the match was over. Henin ended it with a forehand volley, then flung her racket behind her and leaned on the net, closing her eyes and exhaling.

Soon, she was making eye-contact with her siblings and Rodriguez. During the on-court trophy ceremony, Henin spoke about her father, who watched on TV, and made reference to her late mother, who brought a 10-year-old Justine to Roland Garros to watch a tennis-match in person for the first time.

"That was my heart that was talking," Henin said later. "What happened in the past is the past, and I just want to move forward, and look forward, and enjoy every moment of my life with them back in it now."

She wouldn't discuss what precipitated the estrangement, nor what prompted the reconciliation. Her brother David said things changed when he was in a car-accident this year and awoke from a coma to find Henin in his room.

Now, Henin finds joy away from tennis, too.

"Emotionally, I had to deal with so many things in the last few months, good things, bad things," Henin said. "But I just tried to stay very focused, concentrate, get my motivation, and just try to be happy on the court, and I felt great today."

Dr. Andrew Broad

My Eternal Fanship: 1. Monica Seles; 2. Мария Шарапова (‘Maria Sharapova’); 3. Daniela Hantuchová; 4. Jelena Dokić; 5. Iva Majoli; 6. Karina Habšudová; 7. Вера Звонарёва (‘Vera Zvonarëva’); 8. Nicole Vaidišová; 9. Анна Чакветадзе (‘Anna Chakvetadze’); 10. Lucie Šafářová; 11. Ирода Туляганова (‘Iroda Tulyaganova’); 12. Magdaléna Rybáriková; 13. Sabine Lisicki
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