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View Full Version : Peak Seles vs. Peak Henin at Roland Garros


CJ07
Jan 3rd, 2009, 02:13 AM
Seles - 3 Titles
1989; SF (l. Graf)
1990; W (Graf)
1991; W (Sanchez-Vicario)
1992; W (Graf)
1996; QF (Novotna)
1997; SF (Hingis)
1998; F (Sanchez-Vacio)
1999; QF (Graf)
2000; QF (Pierce)
2002; QF (V. Williams)
2003; 1rd (Petrova)
Win/Loss: 53-8; 87%
Win/Loss: 21-0; 100% (pre-stabbing/peak)

Henin - 4 Titles
1999; 2nd (Davenport)
2001; SF (Clijsters)
2002; 1rd (Kapros)
2003; W (Clijsters)
2004; 2nd (Garbin)
2005: W (Pierce)
2006: W (Kuznetsova)
2007: W (Ivanovic)
Win/Loss: 35-4; 90%
Win/Loss: 29-1; 97% (Peak)

For Reference:

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

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

Green - Denotes Eventual Champion
Blue - Denotes Eventual Finalist

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

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

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

supergrunt
Jan 3rd, 2009, 02:15 AM
Seles something like 6-4,2-6,6-3

Optima
Jan 3rd, 2009, 02:24 AM
Justine, 7-6 7-6.

Thanx4nothin
Jan 3rd, 2009, 02:43 AM
Seles in three, she was an incredible competitor.

DragonFlame
Jan 3rd, 2009, 03:54 AM
justine, at the french open you need to play absolutely perfect to beat her and hope she plays less then 80%. She's proven that, and i consider her the highest level claycourter there ever was. (yes, better then graf and evert.) Her hybrid of power and skill was something WTA had never seen, combine that with HER tournament and you get someone who's practically unbeatable.

OsloErik
Jan 3rd, 2009, 04:16 AM
It's hard to pinpoint any matches where Henin handily beat a top clay courter at the French Open. Partly a function of era: with Seles and Graf gone, there was a big hole at the top for clay courters. Capriati wasn't really a true clay courter (although she's possibly the best home-grown American clay-court player since Evert), and none of the other Americans were great there. That leaves an old Pierce, and the relatively inexperienced Russian/Serb/Clijsters trio, and Serena twice.

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

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

G1Player2
Jan 3rd, 2009, 04:19 AM
justine, at the french open you need to play absolutely perfect to beat her and hope she plays less then 80%. She's proven that, and i consider her the highest level claycourter there ever was. (yes, better then graf and evert.) Her hybrid of power and skill was something WTA had never seen, combine that with HER tournament and you get someone who's practically unbeatable.

Serena was 5 points from taking her out in 2003 before she cheated, so she isn't that unbeatable. But you do need to be at your best.

CJ07
Jan 3rd, 2009, 04:41 AM
Seles also had match points on Henin in 2003 and had a 4-3 head to head advantage.

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

Not on the same league as having to beat Graf twice and Sanchez-Vicario even.

Leo_DFP
Jan 3rd, 2009, 04:43 AM
Yep, Seles in 3 probably.

Henin rarely even played good or great tennis in Paris. She just had a lame-ass lack of competition, especially from 2005-2007. At least she beat Serena in 2003 and 2007. But usually she just had to be steady to win.

cailllou
Jan 3rd, 2009, 05:46 AM
ooooo tough call..im going to go with seles ever so slightly...and i think serena earlier on was just as good as justine...2003 was reallllly tough

zveeen
Jan 3rd, 2009, 06:59 AM
Justine in three sets

AnomyBC
Jan 3rd, 2009, 07:40 AM
I picked Seles in 3, but I could definitely see her beating her in 2 as well. I think peak Seles was nearly unstoppable on clay and hard courts. Even Graf couldn't beat Seles when she was at her peak, so if she couldn't do it, then how the hell is Henin going to do it? The only person I see as possibly being able to beat peak Seles on clay is Evert.

karimcartoon
Jan 3rd, 2009, 09:29 PM
Seles in 3. No question. She would destroy the ball. Henin is good on clay but ... Seles is better.

mauresmofan
Jan 3rd, 2009, 10:42 PM
I'd pay good money to see that one - I honestly don't know who would win and as people have said it's hard to gage what Henin did at RG because of the lack of competition. Such is the void left by Henin retiring that there isn't going to be a favourite for RG and if I was someone like Paola Suarez I'd play Australia and then go practise my ass off on the clay because if she did she could even become a contender this year, as crazy as that sounds, because she has the natural abililty and movement on the surface to go far!

mauresmofan
Jan 3rd, 2009, 10:50 PM
Actually did Paola retire?

Dave.
Jan 3rd, 2009, 10:55 PM
Seles also had match points on Henin in 2003 and had a 4-3 head to head advantage.

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

Not on the same league as having to beat Graf twice and Sanchez-Vicario even.

Didn't do anything special? Yeah, right. :rolleyes: Of course Seles had more competition but there's no need to downplay Henin's level just to prove that. So she didn't have to fight as much as Seles did, there's no doubt that the level Henin produced in Paris all those years is some of the most special claycourt tennis ever seen.

Anyway, Seles did compete in the toughest claycourt era (her/ASV/Graf the big 3), and I feel she would win a close 3-set match over Henin for the reasons OsloErik mentioned; that Seles would have dealt with Henin's strenghts pretty well and would attack the serve.

btw, Henin was not in her peak at RG 04.


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

Paola retired at the USO 07, but yeah she'd probably do well on clay today. :lol:

Dave.
Jan 3rd, 2009, 11:00 PM
Where did my post go? :scratch:

Yeah, Paola retired at USO 2007. ;)

LightWarrior
Jan 3rd, 2009, 11:13 PM
It's hard to pinpoint any matches where Henin handily beat a top clay courter at the French Open. Partly a function of era: with Seles and Graf gone, there was a big hole at the top for clay courters. Capriati wasn't really a true clay courter (although she's possibly the best home-grown American clay-court player since Evert), and none of the other Americans were great there. That leaves an old Pierce, and the relatively inexperienced Russian/Serb/Clijsters trio, and Serena twice.

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

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

Very good points. Let's not forget that Seles beat Graf everytime at RG finals (91/92 : peak Seles). Graf was bothering Seles more than Henin could ever had, just because Graf was quicker than Henin. To prove my point, Henin never won Wimbledon, Graf won many times there.Seles would have had all the time to adjust against Henin. Plus, Henin faced no real clay courters during her reign, unlike Seles.

CJ07
Jan 3rd, 2009, 11:14 PM
2004 was during Henin's peak years. I know she was injured/sick/whatever, but you have to look at "peak" as an overall period.

I'm not saying she didn't play well, but her competition was substandard, relative to that of Seles's.

Lucemferre
Jan 3rd, 2009, 11:23 PM
Seles. Just compare her strong final opponents with Justine's pathetically weak chokers. Justine's biggest threat has been Serena :tape: and clay is her lest favorite surface.

If Seles owned Graf at the FO she would handle Justine easily.

LightWarrior
Jan 3rd, 2009, 11:32 PM
More relevant would be : could peak Seles handle Ever at RG. On their last meeting Evert trashed Seles in 1990. And it was at the US Open.

CJ07
Jan 3rd, 2009, 11:32 PM
Well lets look at this objectively, looking at all elite wins on clay vs. all losses

You can give the following:

4 points - Grand Slam Champion
3 points - #1
2 point - Top 5
1 points - Top 10

Justine Henin

2003
Wins:
S. Williams x2, SELES, Mauresmo, Clijsters x2, Rubin

Losses:
Dementieva
Win/Loss: 7-1; 88%
Points: 43

2005:
Jankovic, Davenport, Dementieva, Schnyder x2, Ivanovic, Kuznetsova x2, Sharapova x2, Petrova x2, Pierce
Win/Loss: 13-0; 100%
Points: 58

2006:
Wins:
Petrova, Dementieva, Kuznetsova, Mauresmo, Myskina, Clijsters, Kuznetsova
Losses:
Schnyder, Petrova
Win/Loss: 7-2; 78%
Points: 33

2007:
Jankovic x3, Kuznetsova, S. Williams, Ivanovic

Losses:
Kuznetsova
Win/Loss: 6-1; 86%
Points: 28

Total Win/Loss: 33-4; 89%
Points: 162
Avg. Points: 4.4

Monica Seles

1990
Wins:
Martinez x2, K. Maleeva, M. Maleeva-Fraginere x2, Navratilova, Graf x2, Capriati
Note: Seles won 32 straight sets on clay and had won 12 straight sets before that.
Win/Loss: 11-0; 100%
Points: 36

1991
Wins:
Fernandez x2, Sanchez-Vicario x2, Martinez, Sabatini
Losses:
Graf, Sabatini
Win/Loss: 6-2; 75%
Points: 28

1992
Wins:
Garrison, Pierce, M. Maleeva-Fragniere, Sanchez-Vicario, Coetzer, Capriati, Sabatini, Graf

Losses:
Sabatini
Win/Loss: 8-1; 89%
Points: 35

Total Win/Loss: 25-3; 89%
Total Points: 99
Avg. Points: 3.5

CJ07
Jan 3rd, 2009, 11:36 PM
Evert won 2 on Hardcourt
6-2 6-1
6-2 6-0

Seles won 1 on Clay
3-6 6-1 6-4

I think the US Open loss was more due to it being Chris's last tournament, Seles choked.

CJ07
Jan 3rd, 2009, 11:37 PM
Its also interesting to note that Seles played everyone from Chris Evert to Maria Sharapova!