Tennis Freaks

“1821: Nadal, I’ve noticed, has a problem with his shorts, in that they keep on getting stuck up his jacksie and he has to pull them out before every point. Not sure why he doesn’t just get a size up, he’s probably loaded.”

Henin v Jankovic as it happened

French Open Semi-final result:


6-2 6-2

*denotes server


By Piers Newbery

Second set

Henin 6-2 Jankovic
It’s a disappointing end to a great couple of weeks for Jankovic as she sends a backhand spiralling long to give Henin the win. It was a very impressive display from the champion though and she will be a strong favourite for Saturday’s final against Ana Ivanovic.

Henin 5-2 Jankovic
Well, at least she can smile about it. A pulsating game sees both players earn and spurn chances but Jankovic’s habit of going for too much at the crucial moment comes back to haunt her and a break point goes begging. Henin punishes the Serb, taking the game with a big forehand winner but the Jankovic grin remains in place, albeit a little rueful.

Henin 4-2 Jankovic
Another game, another break. Henin gets to 15-40 and smacks a superb return followed up by a thumping smash, which Jankovic tries to hit back for a winner.

Henin 3-2 Jankovic
Well, anyone who thought Henin had it in the bag (clearly not me) was very much mistaken. Jankovic breaks back to love and the second set is in the balance again.

Henin 3-1 Jankovic
It looks like curtains for Jankovic when Henin winds up a mid-court forehand on break point but surprisingly she sticks it in the net. The Belgian makes up for it with a beautiful backhand winner on the next point but again Jankovic saves the break point. Another Belgian backhand winner follows, as does another hold. Fourth time lucky for Henin, although there’s not much luck involved as she punches away a fine volley to break.

Henin 2-1 Jankovic
This time it’s the champion who wobbles from 40-0 but a wayward Jankovic backhand gets Henin out of jail. Speaking of which, the sound of Parisian police sirens wailing in the background puts me in mind of Inspector Clouseau for some reason.

Henin 1-1 Jankovic
Things are looking up for Jankovic as she gets on the scoreboard in the second set, although from 40-0 she plays a horrendous volley and then sees a Henin forehand whistle past her.

Henin 1-0 Jankovic
A routine hold for the champion and Henin is looking pretty unstoppable at the moment, much to the French crowd’s delight. I imagine they like her because she speaks French – does this mean I can start supporting Vince Spadea at Wimbledon?

First set

Henin 6-2 Jankovic
The set fizzles out disappointingly as Jankovic’s serve collapses and she double-faults to hand over a love game. After a great start the contest is losing intensity as Henin dominates.

Henin 5-2 Jankovic
A bit more of a scrappy game but Henin holds to 30 and still looks in command. She tucks into what looks like a chocolate milkshake at the changeover, although presumably it’s a bit healthier than that. More shots of random people in the crowd, I’m guessing they’re French celebs. The beard is clearly de rigeur at the moment.

Henin 4-2 Jankovic
Danger signals for Jankovic as two woeful attempts at drop shots and a backhand into the net put Henin in control. But the Belgian misses three break points to all but seal the set and Jankovic remains in touch.

Henin 4-1 Jankovic
I had the good fortune to interview Jankovic before the tournament and she said she thought she could beat Henin but in the past had made more mistakes than the experienced Belgian at key moments. History is starting to repeat itself – the Serb gets in a good position at 30-30 but then makes two errors, prompting an “Allez!” from Henin.

Henin 3-1 Jankovic
Henin makes the breakthrough after a backhand winner gets her to 30-40 and she then forces a backhand mistake from Jankovic. The quality of play remains exceptional though.

Henin 2-1 Jankovic
Jankovic’s mum – a bit of a Vanessa Feltz lookalike, surprisingly – sips nervously from a bottle of water as her daughter makes some headway on the Henin serve, but at game point the Belgian crunches down a forehand winner.

Henin 1-1 Jankovic
If the first semi-final was a bit of a let-down this one has started in blistering fashion. Both players are already on top form and that means Henin has the edge. Two more searing backhands and a drop shot take her to break point but she misses the return. A superb game ends with Jankovic retrieving a drop shot to hold.

Henin 1-0 Jankovic
A pretty serious statement of intent from the defending champion – Henin is absolutely belting her forehand and then wraps up a love-game with a stunning backhand winner. Several cries of “Allez Justine!” from the crowd. They do know she’s Belgian don’t they?

1425 BST: After a one-sided first semi-final that saw Ana Ivanovic hammer Maria Sharapova we could be in for a closer encounter here. Henin has a habit of beating Jankovic 6-4 in the third set but the Serb is the form woman on tour and fancies her chances.


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