Returning Belgian Justine Henin takes on defending Australian Open ladies Champion, and first seed, Serena Williams in the 2010 Australian Open Final at the Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne.
Williams has heavily strapped right thigh and left calf as she has throughout tournament. Henin looks visually fresher, and has had fewer scares en route to final.
Game One – Williams Service 0-0
Serena Williams to serve. Henin earns two break points, which Williams saves with a forehand. Williams refers to hamwkeye for a ball that was out. Another successful challenge, on a Williams ace wrongly called, sees the set eventually go with serve after two further deuces.
Serena Williams leads 1-0
Game Two – Henin Service 1-0*
Justine Henin holds serve to 30.
Game three – Williams Service 1*-1
Williams serves a double fault 15-15. Williams misses forehand 15-30. Unreturned serve 30-30. Henin lucky net cord on backhanded return of serve – another break point – 30-40. Williams ace, deuce. Advantage Williams after Henin misses return. Williams fails to hit shot down the line after chipped return from Henin – deuce (2). Henin comes to net on return, Williams passes well down the line, advantage Williams. Williams comes to net after good approach, Henin passes well cross court, deuce (3). Williams ace, advantage Williams. Henin hits great winner up the line after five shot rally, Deuce (4). Henin misses return, advantage Williams. Henin hits return winner cross court from Williams first serve, deuce (5). Henin return just long, advantage Williams. Williams comes to net and smashes winner.
Serena Williams leads 2-1
Game Four – Henin service 2-1*
Henin comes to net and misses volley wide, 0-15. Henin double fault, 0-30. Williams hits hard cross court winner that lands just inside the line from backhand side, 0-40. Willams breaks serve to love.
Serena Williams leads 3-1.
Game Five – Williams Serve 3*-1
Williams hits the net after a brief rally which she was controlling, 0-15. Henin hits net 15-15. Henin never in next rally until hitting excellent cross court shot that Williams cannot return within court, 15-30. Another long rally ends with Williams hitting the ball into the net, 15-40, two more Henin break points. Williams hits unreturnable serve, 30-40. Line judge self-corrected an ‘out’ call on Henin attempted winner which hit the line, point replayed. Williams hits unreturned serve, deuce. Henin sliced backhand hits net after rally, advantage Williams. Williams second serve returned well by Henin who approaches the net only to volley straight into it, game Williams.
Serena Williams leads 4-1.
Game Six – Henin Serve 4-1*
Henin first serve unreturned, 15-0. Henin hits winner from Williams return, 30-0. Henin second serve returned into net, 40-0. Henin misses attempted winner up line, 40-15. Henin double fault, 40-30. Williams hits shot into net, game Henin.
Serena Williams leads 4-2.
Game Seven – Williams Serve 4*-2
Williams comes to net, Henin passes crosscourt to a loud roar, 0-15. Williams second serve well returned, Williams hits net, 0-30. Williams second serve is returned just long by Henin, 15-30. Williams attempted winner cross court is just wide, 15-40. Henin hits good return of serve, Williams comes to net, Henin attempts pass up line, Williams volleys winner into open court, 30-40. Henin hits good winner to break back, Game Henin.
Serena Williams leads 4-3. Set is back on serve.
Game Eight – Henin Serve 4-3*
Henin second serve well returned, but too short and in centre of court – winner dispatched cross court, Henin 15-0. Henin second serve returned well wide by Williams, 30-0. Henin second serve returned long by Williams, 40-0. Henin serve returned long by Williams, game Henin.
Score tied, 4-4.
Williams is getting a lot of looks at second serve. Henin has crowd.
Game Nine – Williams Serve 4*-4
Henin misses attempted winner after brief rally, 15-0. Williams ace, 30-0. Williams unreturned serve, 40-0. Williams second serve is returned long by Henin, game Williams.
Williams leads 5-4.
Very quick game with all but one going to Williams on first serve.
Game Ten – Henin Serve 5-4*
Henin double fault, 0-15. Henin second serve swerving ace, 15-15. Williams hits big forehand winner after brief rally, 15-30. Henin ace up line, 30-30. Henin second serve called out, Henin challenges, ball was out, 30-40. Set point Williams. Williams hits return into net from rare first serve, deuce. Henin shoots backhand long, advantage Williams. Set point Williams. Henin first serve returned well, net cord from Henin falls just out, game and first set to Serena Williams.
Williams claims set 6-4.
Story of the Set
Williams showed why her serve is such a weapon by making her first serve count on key points, saving six of seven break points. Henin showed Williams too many second serves, but hit good winners when given the opportunity, and only presented 3 break points to Williams, 2 of which she converted. If Henin can increase first serve percentage, and take Williams first serve a little better, she has every chance of claiming second set.
Game One – Williams Serve 6-4 0*-0
Williams first serve chip returned, Williams hits winner, 15-0. Williams first serve returned to corner of court, Henin comes in, Williams hits attempted pass well wide, 15-15. Williams second serve returned into net, 30-15. Williams second serve leads to long rally, Henin eventually missing a shot up the line wide, 40-15. Williams ace takes game.
Serena Williams leads 1-0.
Again, Williams shows first serve is hard to take points from.
Game Two – Henin Serve 6-4 1-0*
Henin second serve returned into net, 15-0. Henin second serve leads to brief rally, Henin misses wide with forehand, 15-15. Henin second serve leads to rally which Williams controls before Henin shoots wide with an attempted backhand winner, 15-30. Henin misses forehand winner wide, 15-40. Henin second serve returned into net, 30-40. Williams long with forehand, deuce. Henin ace, advantage Henin. Williams long with forehand, Henin holds serve.
One game all.
Game Three – Williams Serve 6-4 1*-1
Williams hits backhand long, 0-15. Henin hits winner up line, 0-30. Crowd wants to see a game – loud cheer for winner. Henin comes in after good approach work, Serena Williams misses pass well wide, 0-40. Three break points for Henin. Williams second serve, leads to Williams at net with simple volley into open court, but she gets drop shot all wrong, and leaves an easy pass for Henin, which she takes with aplomb. Henin breaks to love.
Henin leads 2-1.
Henin either read, or gambled on, Williams’ first serve, and produced five excellent returns there. Effort produced when needed by Henin.
Game Four – Henin Serve 6-4 1-2*
Henin hits shot into net after brief rally, 0-15. Henin hits forehand long, 0-30. Henin wide first serve returned wide by Williams, 15-30. Williams hits backhand winner cross court, 15-40. Two break points. Henin first serve chipped back by off-balance Williams, Henin hits winner into open court, 30-40. Henin hits net with forehand, Game Williams.
Two games all.
Game Five – Williams Serve 6-4 2*-2
Williams second serve returned out by Henin, 15-0. Williams double fault, 15-15. Rally ends with Williams at net and Henin attempting low percentage lob which lands out, 30-15. Williams second serve returned long, 40-15. Williams first serve returned into net, game Williams.
Serena Williams leads 3-2.
Game Six – Henin Serve 6-4 3-2*
Henin second serve well returned by Williams’ backhand, Williams controlled rally with powerful hitting before Henin hits net, 0-15. Williams hits great, deep return, from first serve but Henin replies with winner down the line, 15-15. Henin second serve returned into net by Williams’ backhand, 30-15. Henin misses wide with backhand, 30-30. Henin second serve returned centre court, leading to long rally. Henin drop shot brought Williams to net, but Henin lob was well wide, 30-40. Henin second serve leads to another long rally, with both players hitting good ground strokes before Williams hits a forehand long, deuce. Henin second serve returned well, but Williams hits next shot long under no real pressure, advantage Henin. Williams hits good forehand cross court winner, deuce (2). Henin second serve well returned, Williams to net, Henin lobs and Williams smashes. Henin returns smash before Williams hits drop shot, which Henin races in to hit cross court winner into open court, advantage Henin. Henin works Williams wide in rally before hitting shot up the line, Williams fast to make up ground on the ball, but hits tame shot into net, game Henin.
Three games all.
Game Seven – Williams Serve 6-4 3*-3
Williams second serve well returned, but not a genuine approach shot, Henin to net, but Williams hits easy pass up line, 15-0. Williams works opening and hits winner on backhand from first serve, 30-0. Williams double fault, 30-15. Williams first serve returned short, Williams to net, Henin hits big winner up line, lands on line, 30-30. Williams first serve returned well, Henin hits line again to Williams’ backhand side, Williams shoots long, 30-40. Break point. Williams ace, challenged. Ball was in, deuce. Williams first serve well returned, Henin to net, digs out tricky volley before volleying cross court winner, advantage Henin. Excellent play at net from Henin. Williams second serve, returned well, Williams shoots long, game Henin against serve.
Henin leads 4-3.
Henin once again upped her level on Williams’ serve, and hit lines as well as producing some excellent net play. Her approach shots need to be better, however, if she is to take this match out. Henin also needs more first serves in.
Game Eight – Henin Serve 6-4 3-4*
Henin first serve unreturned, 15-0. Henin first serve returned well, but Henin produces backhand winner up the line, 30-0. Henin first serve chipped back, winner up line by Henin, 40-0. Henin first serve hits centre line and is unreturned, service game to Henin, to love.
Henin leads 5-3.
Game Nine – Williams Serve 6-4 3*-5
Williams first serve returned well, Henin to net, Williams lob smashed for winner by Henin, 0-15. Williams first serve returned well before Henin hits winner, 0-30. Williams second serve hit for return winner up line, Henin read that and walked around backhand for the forehand winner, 0-40. Three set points, but Henin only needs one, after returning another first serve well, Williams hits net. Set to Henin.
Henin wins second set
One set all.
Story of the Set
Henin began to read or to gamble on the Williams serve to break – and played some excellent tennis at the net after following good returns in. Henin isn’t picking the best shots to follow, but is escaping with excellent hands at the net, as well as some excellent winners up the lines. Henin also improved her first serve percentage to 50% – which is good by her standards. If she can continue this good work, she will be Australian Open Champion, however, we have seen before that Serena Williams has big reserves, and can draw upon them at will. Williams does look a little tired, however, and the big serves and booming forehand and backhand winners need to return to her game if she is to retain her crown in 2010.
Third and deciding set will be exciting, with both players hitting winners and forcing errors from their opponent. This final is really a coin flip which revolves around the outcome of key points and who holds her nerve at those moments. Henin is currently taking more chances, so it remains to be seen if these risks pay off for the Belgian to mark a fairytale return to the game of tennis.
Game One – Henin Serve 6-4 3-6 0-0*
Both players returned after long “comfort breaks” to restart the match in a third and final deciding set.
Henin second serve returned into net by a tired looking Williams forehand, 15-0. Henin first serve unreturned, 30-0. Henin second serve returned well leading to brief rally, Williams hit backhand into net, 40-0. Williams to net after brief rally, hit attempted volleyed winner into net. Game Henin.
Henin leads 1-0.
Williams seems to be in decline, while Henin has upped her service game.
Game Two – Williams Serve 6-4 3-6 0*-1
Henin hits return winner off Williams first serve, 0-15. Williams serve unreturned 15-15. Williams second serve returned deep before Henin hits winner right on the line into the corner of Williams backhand side, 15-30. Williams first serve again returned well, Williams hits net, Henin break points, 15-40. Williams ace down line, 30-40. Williams first serve returned well, but Williams controls point and hits big forehand winner up the line, deuce. Williams first serve returned long, advantage Williams. Williams ace holds her serve.
One game all.
Williams dug deep to hold her serve from two break points down with some strong tennis.
Game Three – Henin Serve 6-4 3-6 1-1*
Henin serve returned deep by Williams, and another deep shot called out, 0-15, ball was on the line, no challenge. Williams hits winner, 15-15. Henin second serve well returned, Henin hits net going for cross court backhand, 15-30. Henin first serve returned centre court, Henin goes for line, but just wide, 15-40. Williams seems more focused. Henin first serve well returned, Henin comes to net after no sort of approach shot. Williams shoots for her feet, Henin cannot make the volley, and it hits the net, Williams breaks.
Williams leads 2-1
Serena Williams has increased intensity, and it is working. Henin needs to be careful to make her serve a little more effective, and her risks must be more measured than in that game.
Game Four – Williams Serve 6-4 3-6 2*-1
Williams second serve well returned by Henin, Williams hits long, 0-15. Williams second serve returned to centre court, Williams hits long under no pressure, 0-30. Williams second serve, returned to centre court, Williams hits poor shot, Henin chips back before Williams shoots long. Again. 0-40. Williams first serve returned well, Henin hits net going for plain shot, 15-40. Williams second serve and Henin goes for big forehand return winner, ball smashes straight into net, 30-40. Williams second serve – this time the forehand winner works, Serena cannot get it back, break back game for Henin.
Two games all.
The was all about Williams’ first serve failing, and unforced errors by the American.
Game Five – Henin Serve 6-4 3-6 2-2*
Henin first serve unreturned, 15-0. Long rally ends with Henin hitting net, 15-15. Henin second serve, Williams to net, Henin hits great lob which Williams strains to smash, letting out a loud groan, but it eludes her, 30-15. Henin double fault, 30-30. Henin second serve is pounced on by Williams who hits winner up the line, 30-40. Henin second serve well returned by Williams, Henin misses to drop her serve again.
Williams leads 3-2
Williams did not produce a huge amount to take that Henin service game, however, both players are playing well, only with occasional service errors creeping in to both players’ games.
Game Six – Williams Serve 6-4 3-6 3*-2
Williams serve returned well, but Henin hits ball out during rally, 15-0. Williams second serve leads to rally which ends with another Williams backhand hitting the net, 15-15. Williams second serve not capitalised upon by Henin who hits her return into top of the net, 30-15. Willams first serve returned to centre court, Williams plays approach shot to corner, and comes to net, Henin goes for big forehand winner, but misses wide by a couple of feet, 40-15. Williams serve returned well by Henin, Williams miss-hit forehand goes long, 40-30. Williams ace challenged successfully, second serve. Williams hits an ace to hold her serve, and lets out first cheer of the match.
Williams leads 4-2 with one break.
Game Seven – Henin Serve 6-4 3-6 4-2*
Henin serve leads to long rally which ends with Williams hitting slightly long, 15-0. Henin second serve well returned leading to long rally which Williams finishes with a strong forehand winner down the line, 15-15. Henin double fault following very tired looking second serve, 15-30. Henin follows great serve with a good approach shot before coming to net, Williams aims at her feet, and Henin just misses drop shot into net, 15-40. Two break points. Henin second serve well returned, forcing Henin to miss long with backhand, Williams breaks.
Williams leads 5-2.
Williams is in ascendancy, and Henin seems tired, particularly on her serve. Williams now serves for the Championship, with two breaks in hand.
Game Eight – Williams Serve 6-4 3-6 5*-2
Williams goes for big first serve, and gets it, ace for 15-0. Another big serve, this time into Henin’s body, is returned into net, 30-0. Williams hits serve up line for another ace – the 12th of the match – 40-0. Championship Point. Williams second serve is returned right on the line by mishit, 15-40. Williams allows herself a laugh. Big serve to forehand from Williams well returned, but Williams blasts a backhand winner to the other side of court which hits its mark and wins Serena Williams another Australian Open Championship.
Williams wins third set 6-2.
Williams wins the match 6-4 3-6 6-2
Serena Williams wins Women’s Australian Open Tennis 2010.
Story of the Set
Serena Williams seemed shaky at the start of set three, with Henin still retaining her good play of the second set and getting the first break on the board with Williams missing her first serve in nervy circumstances. Henin slightly lost her serve as she seemed to tire, and Williams seemed to put on a real effort to race away when the slight chink in Henin’s armour presented itself.
Story of the Match
Williams looked as powerful at the end as she did at the start, and served out like only a Champion can. Henin’s risk taking got her the second set, but her legs could not carry her to the net quickly enough, nor drive her first serve hard enough, when it mattered in the final set. Serena Williams is a worthy champ.
If anything, Henin deserved the first set and Williams the second – totally opposite to how the sets went in fact – but when it mattered, in the final set, Williams dominated once she got on top, and never looked in doubt from around game five or six of the third set. With more fitness, however, Henin could have carried her effort further and, had she converted more than one break point from seven in the first set, she would have been better able to finish this match quickly. That she could not, however, was down to Williams’ superior serving under pressure, and Henin’s inability to return the unreturnable – no fault of hers, just remarkable play from the American World Number One.
This match will likely not be the last time this pair meet in a Grand Slam final.