Henin, Golovin Meet for Zurich Title

Posted on October 21, 2007

One player will try to earn her 10th career Tier I singles title while the other will try to win her first as the championship final of the $1.34-million Zürich Open takes place on Sunday afternoon. Justine Henin has already claimed nine trophies at the Tier I level, including here in Zürich in 2003 - a title run that propelled her to the world No.1 ranking the following Monday.

One of the game’s brightest teen-aged stars, Tatiana Golovin, is playing in a Tier I final for the very first time, having fallen at the semifinal stage of this level of tournament in all three of her prior attempts. But despite the lopsided head-to-head - Henin has won all three of their previous meetings - Golovin has played the top players impressively throughout the year, beating Top 10 players five times (including one win earlier this week over Ana Ivanovic) and has done well against Henin in the past as well, taking a set off her in two of those meetings and falling in two very tight sets in their other encounter.

By winning her first match of the week here, Justine Henin surpassed 2007’s previous-best win streak of 16 in a row (which she set herself between winning Roland Garros and Eastbourne and making the Wimbledon semis) and with her quarterfinal and semifinal wins she is now at 19 in a row, going for her 20th against Golovin; the last time anyone crossed 20 was Kim Clijsters, who had 21 in 2005 (winning Los Angeles, Toronto, the US Open and Luxembourg then falling in the Filderstadt quarters); the best since 2000 belongs to Venus Williams (35 in 2000).

Zurich is also the site of one of Henin’s two career Tour doubles title runs, having won the team competition here in 2002 (with Russian Elena Bovina); she also won Gold Coast that year (with American Meghann Shaughnessy).

Since first ascending to No.1 the week after this tournament four years ago, Henin has only lost three matches to teenagers - one to Svetlana Kuznetsova (2004 Doha) and two to Maria Sharapova (2005 Miami, 2006 US Open).

Tatiana Golovin now has 12 career Top 10 wins, having come into Zürich with 11 but beating Ivanovic en route to Sunday’s final; nine of her now-12 Top 10 wins have been against Russians (Petrova and Kuznetsova three times each, Dementieva twice and Chakvetadze once); she is 0-2 lifetime against world No.1s but has pushed them to three sets both times, falling to Clijsters in the second round of Antwerp last season, 46 76(4) 75 (having led by a break at 4-3 in the third) and then to Henin two weeks ago in the Stuttgart final (taking a set but falling, 26 62 61).

Golovin is looking to become the first from France to win a Tier I singles title since Mary Pierce at 2005 Moscow.

In the situation that Golovin would win the final without losing a game, she would tie this year’s record for fewest games lost en route to a title (20 - Martina Hingis at Tokyo [Pan Pacific], Agnieszka Radwanska at Stockholm).

Playing together for the very first time, Lisa Raymond and Francesca Schiavone have reached the doubles final, taking out No.1 seeds Cara Black and Liezel Huber in the semifinals; in the final they face another unseeded duo, Kveta Peschke and Rennae Stubbs, who took out No.2 seeds Katarina Srebotnik and Ai Sugiyama en route; the Czech-Australian pairing will be going for its third title of the year, having already won Los Angeles and Stuttgart.