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 Kuznetsova as it happened

Flushing Meadows, New York, 27 August-9 September

US Open, Flushing Meadows Final result:

J HENIN (Bel) bt S KUZNETSOVA (Rus)

6-1 6-3

By Piers Newbery

First set:

0246: That’s your lot for this evening, not the most thrilling of finals but Henin did play magnificently, as she did against Serena and Venus. Well worth a second US Open title. Join me tomorrow at around 2100 BST for Federer v Djokovic. Goodnight/morning.

Henin 6-3 Kuznetsova
Any sign of nerves from Henin? Oh yes. She smacks an ace on the first point. A fan shouts out just as she is about to serve on the second point and she goes on to double fault for 15-15. Another double fault follows, and that really gets the crowd going. Kuznetsova moves into the net and puts away a volley for 15-40. Henin finds an ace for 30-40 before Kuznetsova falters in a lengthy rally and it’s deuce. Double fault number three follows and it’s break point number three for Kuznetsova, but she shanks a forehand way long.

This time Kuznetsova sends a backhand long and it’s championship point for Henin….. and she takes it in a bizarre rally with a lob volley.

Henin 5-3 Kuznetsova
As usual, Kuznetsova moves 30-0 clear on her serve, but this time she manages to see it through for a love game.

0233: “As from monday they r going 2 b ranked 1 and 2 in the world… u wouldnt believe it right now.”
From John, Scotland, via text

Henin 5-2 Kuznetsova
Kuznetsova wins the point of the match for 15-15 but it does her little good as Henin takes the game with a superb volley. The Belgian turns and looks to her players’ box, pumping her fist, and she knows that victory is almost hers.

Henin 4-2 Kuznetsova
Kuznetsova wins the first two points but Henin soon levels with a blistering forehand down the line. Kuznetsova comes through and the crowd gets behind her. A bit.

Henin 4-1 Kuznetsova
Aaaargh. Henin pushes a backhand volley long to give Kuznetsova two break-back points but the Russian misses with two forehands. Henin responds with an ace and a smash, and victory is not far away now.

Henin 3-1 Kuznetsova
Henin plays one magical backhand return winner, constructs a clever rally to finish at the net, and thumps a forehand return to recover from 40-0 down and get a break point. Kuznetsova saves it thanks to a correct Hawkeye challenge (according to 5live’s David Law she has the best record of challenges in the tournament – good stat). The Russian saves two more break points but cannot hold off Henin on the third.

Henin 2-1 Kuznetsova
Blimey, some fantastic stuff from Henin who takes the game with a huge forehand. Playing like this, I’d fancy her to get through a few rounds in the men’s event. She could definitely get into the Great Britain Davis Cup squad but that’s another story.

Henin 1-1 Kuznetsova
Kuznetsova stuns everyone by moving to 40-0 and when Henin misses the return, the crowd gets mildly hysterical. I’m not sure there wasn’t a fair bit of irony in that cheering but she’ll take it.

0203: “Svetlana is putting the ‘net’ in Kuznetsova. Bring back Davenport & Mauresmo! Finals like this are bad for the womens game.”
From Tarryn in Waterloo via text

Henin 1-0 Kuznetsova
Kuznetsova makes a better fist of things as the second set starts and gets to deuce, with the help of another couple of Henin double faults. Kuznetsova bosses the rally but refuses to move forward and finish the point, and in the end sticks a backhand into the net. The next backhand doesn’t even make it into the tram lines.

0201: “Evenin! So far so good. Hope Henin’s annoyingly poor serve doesn’t ruin things! Thanks for commentary…”
From Ru via text on 81111 (Not at all)

First set:

0155: “There was no sign of nerves really from Justine Henin – just a good, solid set of tennis, and she really wants that seventh Grand Slam title.”
Wendy Turnbull on BBC Radio 5live

Henin 6-1 Kuznetsova
Kuznetsova challenges a line call early on but, like everything else today, it doesn’t go her way. She dumps a forehand into the net to slip down a set point but saves it with a heavy serve. A second chance comes Henin’s way and this time Kuznetsova nets a backhand. Henin wraps up the set in 33 minutes.

Henin 5-1 Kuznetsova
Henin comes up with a much better service game than her last effort and wins it easily.

Henin 4-1 Kuznetsova
That’s more like it from Kuznetsova, who opens with huge winners off the forehand and then backhand. Two errors then follow from the Russian but she makes amends with a decent volley and finally gets on the scoreboard with a service winner. She looks exhausted.

Henin 4-0 Kuznetsova
Henin double faults twice in a row and the crowd gasps as though she’s just sworn at a ball girl. Kuznetsova lets her off the hook at 15-30 up with a wild forehand but Henin then nets a backhand and it’s break point. No problem for the Belgian, who hammers away a forehand. Kuznetsova wins a fine rally moments later with a forehand down the line and gives it a bit of fist pump but Henin holds with a second-serve ace.

Henin 3-0 Kuznetsova
Henin chips and charges on the first point and takes it with a sharp volley – really fantastic, attacking tennis from her at the moment. Kuznetsova responds with a big serve and a fine backhand volley of her own before Henin makes it 30-30 with a stunning cross-court forehand. At deuce, Kuznetsova is caught in no-man’s/woman’s land and jabs a volley wide, and Henin bullies the next point with a backhand-forehand one-two combination.

Henin 2-0 Kuznetsova
Kuznetsova does some impressive scrambling as Henin bosses things from the net but to no avail, and the world number one takes the game to 15 with an amazing forehand winner down the line.

Henin 1-0 Kuznetsova
Kuznetsova is prone to the odd bout of nerves, as anyone who endured her semi-final will know, and an immediate hold of serve would be a big boost. Unfortunately for her, Henin starts off in a similar mood to that which saw off Serena and Venus, finishing a stunning rally at 30-30 with an audacious drop shot. Kuznetsova then goes for too much with a forehand and it’s a break for the Belgian.

0112: The players come out onto Arthur Ashe Stadium to a healthy round of applause.

0110: It’s time for the women’s final and we have the 2003 champion, Henin, up against the 2004 champion, Kuznetsova.

Rather surprisingly, I’d say, we also have the two women who will be top of the rankings after this weekend, as Kuznetsova is set to rise to a career-high number two.

She will need the confidence boost as Henin has a 14-2 record against the Russian, although Kuznetsova did win their last match earlier this year on clay in Berlin.

Story from BBC SPORT

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