Down Under: 109-109.


How can I explain the Henin v Clijsters match? How do I do it justice? 

The pair played 218 points in total, Henin won 109. Clijsters 109. There were 12 breaks of serve all up. Henin 6. Clijsters 6.

But these are just stats. The pair double faulted, shanked wildly, and both lost significant leads and failed to close out the match. If your definition of “good tennis” is “smooth tennis”, this was not your show.

 

 

But stats tell only half the tale. There was history – a fierce rivalry separated by 2 wins in Justine’s favor. There was drama of the best kind – all court tennis, ridiculous all-court rallies. There was smart, thinking point-construction – two women with the ability to turn defense into offense. There was athleticism. There was flair. There was power. There was finesse.

There were comeback fairytales, as Kim continued to rise and shine and Justine looked fierce and competitive in her very first tournament back.

No one held back. No one looked miserable when they were trailing. No one stopped competing. 

And as a result, there was no real loser.

 

 

For a set and a half, Clijsters could do no wrong – serving hard, and moving around the court like she had springs for legs while Henin struggled to hold serve. You’re excused if you had turned off your TV by 6-3 4-1. But with a few loose points, the momentum turned faster than you could say “Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez”. Henin rattled off 8 straight games to win the second set, and go up 3-0 in the third. 

While Clijsters eventually steadied the ship, Justine still led through the third set, having found her range and was by then hitting winners from all corners of the court. Henin had an opportunity to serve out the match at 5-3.A game later, she had 2 match points, one of which was off a powderpuff Clijsters second serve. Justine took a swing … and found the net

Meanwhile, excuse me while I interrupt the match report with the obligatory “Jada owns my ovaries/the Mighty Babes, please grow some hair” pic. 

 

 

Dear Mirka, how soon can we have Myla and Charlene sitting in the player’s box with you? 

Anyhoo…

As the match was sent into a tiebreak, Clijsters raced to an early 6-3 lead. Kim had 2 of her 3 match points on serve. The second of which – a backhand would-be-winner missed by the narrowest of margins while the crowd had begun to celebrate already.

Henin saved the third match point by holding her own serve. At 6-all in the tiebreak, the match couldn’t be any closer, and the subsequent double fault by Justine came at an suicidally inconvenient time.

It was 4th time lucky for Kim Clijsters, who donated her prize money to the Royal Children’s Hospital in Brissie, drawing an emotional standing ovation from the crowd. 

We don’t call her “Aussie Kim” for nothing.

 

 

As for Henin, she accomplished far, far more than what I expected of her in her first tournament back.

The challenge right now is to recover in time for the Australian Open, as Henin pulled out of Sydney after the match with some tightness in her left leg. Not a huge deal – somehow, I think she got more match practice than she expected out of the week.

 

 

And just like that, the first final of 2010 at a minor tournament kicked every single grand slam final in 2009’s ass all the way back to 1999. 

 

 

How’s that for an epic?

xx doots

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8 responses to “Down Under: 109-109.”

  1. Mia says :

    Well put. This match has set the bar high for all other matches this year. It also served notice to the other (and, especially younger) players on the WTA: ladies, this is how you play tennis. Although both had double-faults and shanks — you never got the sense that those would determine the match; you knew the victor came away because the shots were winners.

    • dootsiez says :

      I know what you mean Mia. Given how full-on both of them were, I wasn’t surprised by the shanks. Such intensity and competitive fire for 3 whole sets, we rarely see that on the WTA tour these days.

  2. Jodi says :

    …and I was there. For every single history making second.

    The only match from 2009 that can even come close to competing is Dementieva/Serena at Wimbledon, and this one still kicks its arse. This is going to be the rivlary to watch in 2010. The rest of the tour can faff around and do whatever, but 2010 is going to be the Year of Belgium.

  3. Jack says :

    I have confession to make….. I didn’t see a single second of this match!!!! Its only due to the stupid timeszones….but it started at 6am over here in Britain and I’m not good with early mornings😦

    Watch the highlights though!!! Did look like a crazy match and some of those winners looked insane.

    Kinda bummed we don’t a possible Henin-Serena match at Sydney but I’d rather her be fully fit come the AO.

    And as much I’m a huge Masha fan, Kim and Justine have to be the favourites for Australia Open. But I do fancy Maria’s chances too, its just she’ll have to play like she did at the 08 AO to be beat these two.

  4. girl from michigan says :

    “Dear Mirka, how soon can we have Myla and Charlene sitting in the player’s box with you? ”

    Stop it, Dootsiez, STOP IT RIGHT NOW. The Whole World Order would implode from cuteness overload.

  5. Elisha says :

    I’m waiting to catch the Justine-Kim match on tennis channel, but they keep playing Chennai and other miscellaneous crap I have no care for. I don’t care who were the freaking top five bad boys of the ATP. I don’t care about the top five fashionistas/fashionistos of the ATP/WTA. I don’t give two craps about Martina Navratilova(hate it when she commentates by the way). UGHHHH. Highlights are the only ones keeping me going at this point. =/ Thanks for putting them up!

    I can’t wait ’til Myla and Charlene come out to watch their dad play!! AHH I bet the cameras will be torn on who to film. Roger or THE TWINS. Yes, in all caps! lol.

  6. BS says :

    Love the blog dootsiez! Unfortunately I didn’t get to see the match, but from the highlights it looked pretty thrilling at moments. Am I the only one who doesn’t think that Justine will be half as successful as Kim? I know she did well considering if this was only her first tournament back but her wins this week compared to Kim’s when she first returned were not as impressive, Kim had numerous top 20 wins when she first returned but so far Justine’s best win was over Ivanovic and that’s not really a great indicator considering that Ana didn’t play her best in that match. You never know though, Justine could surprise me!

    Whenever Myla and Charlene do come out to watch Roger play that is just going to be so cute! I can’t wait for that scene!

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