World No. 1 Serena Williams showed she is the queen of power tennis on Saturday in the women’s final at the Australian Open, defeating comeback Belgian Justine Henin 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 to claim her fifth title in Melbourne and her 12th Slam title overall.
Henin came out swinging, and her attempt to play Big Girl tennis worked for a stretch at the end of the second set when she strung together 15 straight points to even the match at one-set all. But in the third, with Henin insisting on driving every ball rather than attempting to throw Williams’ rhythm off with varying slice, dropshots and net play, the American showed she is the bigger hitter and even with numerous leg and knee wraps a top-level retriever, running to a 6-2 win in the third.
The stats tell the story of the tight match as Williams had only five more unforced errors than the Belgian and won five more total points overall.
Serena elaborated on her strapped thigh and knee after the win.
“Well, where do I start? How much time do we have?” Serena said. “I pulled a hamstring in Sydney, so I was devastated by that. However, when I strapped it, it felt a lot better. And then something happened to the side of my leg in Sydney. And then when I strapped it, it didn’t feel better, but it helped a little bit. And, of course, I tape my ankles for prevention. I think in the third round I twisted my ankle, and I fell against Victoria Azarenka and hurt my wrist. And then somewhere in between there my toes started hurting.”
Serena fell on her back and held her head in her hands after claiming match point, successfully defending her title from last year as well as winning the doubles title with sister Venus at this 2010 Australian Open. Henin was left with the disappointment of a near miss.
“Of course disappointed, when you lose in the final of a Grand Slam, especially in three sets, and I got a few opportunities that I haven’t been able to take,” Henin said. “But this feeling of disappointment cannot take, you know, uhm, advantage on all the things I’ve done in the last few weeks. And it’s just more than what I could expect for. I just have to remember that. Even if it’s quite soon after the match now, I’m sure there will be a lot of positive things I can think about in a few days. It’s been almost perfect. Just the last step, I couldn’t make it.”
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