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.”

Archive for serena williams

Jankovic v Serena as it happened

Australian Open, Melbourne

Women’s quarter-final result:

J JANKOVIC (Ser) bt S WILLIAMS (US)

6-3 6-4

 

By Chris Bevan

0337: Phew, what a match. Maybe not a classic for rallies or fightbacks but full of drama nonetheless, especially when both players were getting treatment in the second set. The end result is that Serena has lost her title and can concentrate on playing doubles with Venus, while third seed Jelena Jankovic will play Justine Henin or Maria Sharapova in the semi-finals.

You can keep up with that Henin-Sharapova showdown with my colleague Tom, watch it via the red button or on this website. And listen to it on BBC Radio Five Live Sports Extra too. You could even do all four…

Jankovic 6-3 6-4 Serena
It is all over. Quite amazing. Some great serving by Williams seems to have put her in control but a double-fault hands Janko a first set-point and a wayward backhand by Serena means that is the the end of the road for the champion.

Jankovic 6-3 5-4 Serena
This one ain’t over yet though. Serena may be playing on one foot but she does not want to hand over her title without a fight. A dogged display sees her outhit the Serb and break again – that’s the 10th service break of a fairly incredible match folks.

Jankovic 6-3 5-3 Serena
Just when you thought Serena was back in this one, she is back to square one. A punishing backhand by Janko sets her up for a smash that puts her on the brink of victory. She will serve for a place in the semi-finals.

Jankovic 6-3 4-3 Serena
Another pulsating game which is going to take a lot out of both players – I half expect to see a couple of limbs come flying off next. More power from Serena, and she has Janko doing the splits on a couple of points, but the Serb is giving as good as she gets and a couple of loose shots by Serena means Jelena holds, just, and gives us some fist-pumping for good measure.

And well done to Chris by the way, for spotting Serena’s blister, through her shoe and all the way from Hampstead!

Jankovic 6-3 3-3 Serena
That little time-out seems to have rejuvenated both players and they resume with some gusto in what could turn out to be a crucial game. Janko is still covering the most ground despite her injury, although I’ve got my eye on her thigh (for medical reasons only of course), but Serena is a more sprightly too and digs deep to save four break points before holding out. Phew – that game took almost 15 minutes on its own – I think I need a trainer now!

“That was an absolute vital game. You feel that now she has held, maybe there’s a way back into the match for Serena.”
BBC Sport’s Jonathan Overend in Melbourne

Oh, and I am not sure why the Five Live website is saying you can listen to this game live – as far as I’m aware that commentary is only for the Tsonga-Youzhny and Henin-Sharapova matches later this morning.

0257: The players are back on court. Maybe Serena does need those crutches after all?

0256: “Jelena’s name is an anagram of my fave album ever! ‘Jean an Jock live’ – amazing! Serena’s makes ‘a new era i’ll miss’, very true…”
Craig, in Yatton on text 81111

The players are still receiving treatment but Serena’s blister is back under wraps.

0253: This game has suddenly turned into an episode of Casualty. Both players are having treatment now – looks like Janko’s thigh injury has flared up, while Serena has her trainer on too and is staring forlornly at an enormous blister on her toe – that would explain a lot!

Jankovic 6-3 3-2 Serena
Another tight one – Janko sees a lob fly long when a winner would have put her 4-1 up. Instead, Serena plants a forehand in the corner to move to break point and Jelena’s wild backhand gives her another break back.

“Alright then. I’ll talk tennis: knowing that Williams is a fighter, nothing’s lost yet, especially given that the longer the game drags on, the more Jelena will feel her injuries. Might Serena be injured?”
Chris, in Hampstead on text 81111

She hasn’t called for a trainer Chris, so I have to say I’m a bit puzzled as to why she was playing so poorly.

Jankovic 6-3 3-1 Serena
Janko has realised that the longer a point goes on, the more chance she has of winning it. She is moving Serena around too, which is the last thing she wants at the moment. The champion is fighting on but a volley into the net at deuce and then a fine backhand down the line gives Janko her third break. Serena’s reaction? One smashed racquet.

Jankovic 6-3 2-1 Serena
A wild forehand by Jelena and a decent backhand by Serena give her hope and she makes short work of the Serb’s second serve to break back. She still doesn’t look herself though.

“Serena is a one-shot player at the moment, if she doesn’t win the point with her first shot she is in trouble.”
BBC Sport’s Jeff Tarango in Melbourne

Jankovic 6-3 2-0 Serena
Serena is still hitting the ball hard enough, and she has upped the volume too – but she is making far too many mistakes. Janko plants a forehand in the corner to break the champion again and that is eight out of the last nine games to the Serb.

“Serena looks subdued, seems distracted and is clearly not in top form.”
BBC Sport’s Jeff Tarango in Melbourne

“Knowing that this will hardly go on the website, I solemnly shout out to thee: go Bevan! Your nightshifts are the best!”
Chris, in Hampstead on text 81111

Chris, and anyone else out there, if you want your comments published then remember a little praise goes a long way. I’d obviously much prefer you to talk tennis though!

Jankovic 6-3 1-0 Serena
Janko’s early problems look a long way away now. An ace means she holds with ease to love.

Jankovic 6-3 Serena
Wow. Fair to say I didn’t see that coming. Serena’s serve has slowed right down and Janko does not hang about in breaking (again) to take the first set. It is meant to be Jelena who is carrying the injuries but, at the moment, Serena would move quicker if she was on crutches.

Jankovic 5-3 Serena
Janko scurries to put away an over-hit Serena drop-volley but Williams seems to be moving a bit better herself and is putting away anything dropping half-court with some gusto. Janko digs in though and saves three more break points to hold and edge closer to taking this first set. A long way to go yet though.

Jankovic 4-3 Serena
Oh dear. Serena has to hold back from smashing her racquet after more some more sloppy shots put her in further trouble – she makes do with havijng ‘words’ with herself instead. They do the trick too and her serve gets her out of a hole to stop Janko from running away with this set.

Jankovic 4-2 Serena
Janko is opening up a bit now now, powering a couple of glorious backhand winners out of Serena’s reach, but this game is another tight one and the Serb has to save three break points before holding with an ace.

Before I forget, here is a quick fashion update for you – Janko is looking pretty in pink, while Serena is, um, pristine in purple. The court, needless to say, is still bright blue. Blimey!

“Janko is looking a bit nervous but I think this match might go all the way!”
Tatti Chaudhry on text 81111

This time I am agreeing with you Tatti – and no need to ask Janko either.

Jankovic 3-2 Serena
More unforced errors by Serena who is going for the corners but missing by a mile. She slices a forehand into the net too, giving Janko two break points, and yet another Williams mistake gives the Serb another break.

“Hi, I’ve heard that apparently the first player to break serve normally wins the match.”
Tatti Chaudhry on text 81111

Not sure about that ‘fact’ Tatti. Shall we ask Jelena what she thinks?

Jankovic 2-2 Serena
Janko’s still not getting much power with her serve but her groundstrokes have settled down and she seems to have woken up and holds comfortably to level.

I should own up really – so far I have been a bit of a jinx for the Brits at this tournament – whenever I’m on shift, they tend to lose…I’ve already had to apologise to the Murray brothers and I haven’t helped Jade Curtis tonight either unfortunately – the 13th seed has just tumbled out 6-3 6-1 to Lesley Kerkhove of Holland. My fault again I guess!

Jankovic 1-2 Serena
Hello hello, this is better from Janko. Serena’s turn to look a bit bewildered as her serve misfires and a couple of forehands fly out by a good four feet. Another break to love, and that should settle Jelena down.

Jankovic 0-2 Serena
Jelena’s injuries mean there are big doubts over her serve and let’s just say she does not make a good start. Serena is straight in on the offensive and some pensive – not to mention wayward shots – from Janko mean we have a break to love in double-quick time.

Jankovic 0-1 Serena
Solid start from the champ. Janko has a swing at all of Serena’s serves but can’t do much with them and it is a comfortable hold.

0151 : Here we go then. Serena to serve first.

0150: Oh, and don’t forget I need some company to keep me going through the small hours. Text me now on 81111 with the word TENNIS before your comment.

0148: Hmmm. Jelena’s picked up even more injuries since arriving in Melbourne – not just a thigh now, but back and shoulder problems too. It doesn’t bode well for her does it?

0145: Nothing between these two head-to-head – two wins apiece, but Serena beat Janko 6-3 6-2 in the fourth round here 12 months ago on her way to the title.

They should have met in the Hopman Cup final at the start of 2008 but Jelena had to pull out because of an injured thigh. The United States went on to win that by the way.

0135: Can’t sleep? Don’t worry, I’ve got just the thing to make the night go quickly – a top-notch women’s quarter-final from the Australian Open between defending champion Serena Williams and third seed Jelena Jankovic.

Story from BBC SPORT

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Serena v Vaidisova as it happened

Australian Open, Melbourne

Women’s fourth-round result:

S Williams (US) bt N Vaidisova (Cze)

6-3 6-4

* denotes server

By Piers Newbery

Second set:

Serena 6-4 Vaidisova
No problem for Serena, who hammers down an ace for 40-0 and converts when Vaidisova nets a backhand. The Czech looks gracious at the net between grumbling and head shaking, while Serena takes the applause. A difficult obstacle overcome with relative ease.

Serena 5-4 Vaidisova
Things are finally hotting up. Serena gets a break-back point that Vaidisova saves but the American gets a second opportunity and Vaidsova double faults. She slumps into her chair, chucks her racket on the floor and begins grumbling in her native tongue. Not fair, is it?

Serena 4-4 Vaidisova
Vaidisova earns her third break point of the match by riflling a backhand return down the line, but misses out when she nets a forehand on the next point That prompts a scream of “Yessss!” from Serena, but Vaidisova gets another opportunity and finally converts with a fierce forehand.

Serena 4-3 Vaidisova
Some fire at last as Serena thumps away a short ball and screams in delight before giving it some fist pump. Vaidisova comes through from deuce but she’s on 17 unforced errors to Serena’s nine at the moment and that’s proving the significant difference. She’s made more mistakes. Not rocket science is it, this coaching lark? I should ring the LTA.

Serena 4-2 Vaidisova
From a spectator’s point of view, these two players’ games don’t match up too well. I think they should be barred from playing each other in future. It’s a bit like watching Chelsea v Liverpool. Serena, who would have to be Chelsea out of those two, smacks ace number eight and holds to 15.

Serena 3-2 Vaidisova
Odd. Vaidisova’s focus disappears completely and she finds herself 0-40 down after a double fault. The lofty Czech thinks she’s won the next point with an ace but Serena successfully challenges it via Hawkeye and wins the replayed point. Easy.

Serena 2-2 Vaidisova
Ace number seven takes Serena to 40-0 and, as usual, Vaidisova tries to go for a winner on the next return, this time without success.

Serena 1-2 Vaidisova
Vaidisova holds to 15. Not too many drops shots going on or probing sliced backhands. Crash, bang, wallop.

Serena 1-1 Vaidisova
Serena plays a poor backhand when off balance to allow Vaidisova back to deuce but the champion serves her way out of trouble.

Serena 0-1 Vaidisova
They’re not hanging about – Vaidisova holds easily enough and it’s not really got going yet as we either get a service winner or an early attempt at a winner off the ground.

First set:

0646: “Has Serena ever looked fitter? In all senses!”
From mark, via text

Serena 6-3 Vaidisova
The defending champion is back to her bullying best as she serves out for the set, before heading off for a ‘comfort break’. Vaidisova served at 70% and forced two break points in that set but still came up short.

Serena 5-3 Vaidisova
Yep, could see that coming. After missing two break points and a couple of other half-chances, Vaidisova pays the price. Serena ups the pressure and the Czech cracks, with three errors handing over the break of serve.

Serena 4-3 Vaidisova
Vaidisova gets to 30-30 with some more fierce hitting but again goes for too much at the key moment and hammers a forehand well long. Serena holds on again and Vaidsova needs to take advantage of her slight superiority at the moment.

Serena 3-3 Vaidisova
Vaidisova hits a beautiful sweeping forehand to seal a love game and she looks in great form.

Serena 3-2 Vaidisova
Brimming with confidence after earlier putting away a lasagne while doing Nabandian v Ferrero, I am now attempting a bowl of cereal during Serena v Vaidisova. Bran Flakes and Cornflakes is my current combination of choice but I’m open to ideas.

Meanwhile…. Vaidisova has the edge at the moment and earns her second break point of the match but puts her return long, and Serena hangs on.

Serena 2-2 Vaidisova
This time it’s Vaidisova who is under pressure on serve as Serena gets to deuce but the Czech comes up with heavy serves and a fine lob to take the game. Vaidisova is proving difficult to type correctly – she needs a nickname.

Serena 2-1 Vaidisova
It’s already pretty brutal stuff from these two big-hitters, Serena smacking an ace and then Vaidisova repsonding with a thumping return. Serena falters with a couple of dodgy forehands to give Vaidisova a break point but the American gets out of trouble with a big serve and goes on to hold.

Serena 1-1 Vaidisova
Vaidisova responds with a love-service game of her own. Just the one ace though.

Serena 1-0 Vaidisova
Serena strolls through her opening service game to love with two aces. She looks mean and moody, despite wearing purple cycling shorts under her dress.

0600: Well done for getting up so early or commiserations on not getting any sleep. Either way, you’re in time for one of the most eagerly anticipated matches of what is turning out to be a great tournament.

Defending champion Serena Williams has looked in great form so far and has a 3-0 record against Nicole Vaidisova, having beaten her three times last year including in the semi-finals of this event.

But 18-year-old Vaidisova is a woman on the up and not likely to be intimidated by the American.

Story from BBC SPORT

Henin v Serena as it happened

All England Club, 25 June-8 July

Wimbledon quarter-final result:

J HENIN (Bel) 1 v S WILLIAMS (US) 7

6-4 3-6 6-3

THIRD SET

Henin 6-3 Serena
She can! She misses the world’s easiest volley at match point, sets up another as Serena puts a forehand into the net and then raises her arms in celebration as Serena’s next return flies long. The crowd rise to her – they’re delighted with that result – and Henin is through to a semi-final meeting with Marion Bartoli. Pheeew. Tremendous match…

Henin 5-3 Serena
Serena is coming back like Ali in Kinshasa – she belts down a 120mph serve and follows it up with two stinging forehand winners. Every point won is now followed by that trademark “COME ORRRNNN!” Can Henin hold in the face of this hurricane?

Henin 5-2 Serena
Plenty, that’s what – with dark clouds looming overhead, Henin wobbles with a double fault and is then blown away by a screaming Serena storm. Richard Williams is on his feet again. Henin stares at the grass. Serena marches on.

Henin 5-1 Serena
Serena, screaming like a peacock under attack from a hungry fox, goes wide with a forehand and then stoops to plonk a backhand volley into the net. She’s broken again, and is staring into the abyss – what’s left in the Serena suitcase?

This just in from Venus’s press conference: “Last time I checked, Serena’s injury was genuine. She has proved to be the ultimate sportsperson and anyone who doesn’t know that is ignorant.”

Henin 4-1 Serena
She’s ever closer now, leaning on her cannon of a forehand to extend her lead back to three games. Coach Carlos has his two children with him, and they’re jumping all over the place. He sshhhhs them sternly as Richard Williams looks up hopefully for rain clouds.

Henin 3-1 Serena
Serena’s now looking at her strapped left wrist and complaining loudly to anyone who’ll listen. She holds to 15, but Henin is holding all the decent cards at the moment. The sun has disappeared, but the crowd don’t care – they’re going to cheer Henin all the way home.

Henin 3-0 Serena
Huge cheers from the partisan crowd as Henin survives a mouthful of butterflies at deuce to extend her lead. Coach Carlos is now openly coaching from the VIP box – either that or he’s got persistant ants in his tennis pants.

Henin 2-0 Serena
The balance of power swings again – Henin is now coming to the net with happy abandon, and she forces two more errors from the frowing, yelling Serena to steal a vital break. Bottoms shift closer to the edge of seats here on Centre.

Henin 1-0 Serena
Wobbles from Justine as she double-faults to go to 15-30, Serena moving closer and closer in for her returns until she’s looming as threateningly as the thunderclouds at lunchtime. Henin then grits her teeth and cranks the serve up a level to edge in front. Nervy times here on Centre.

SECOND SET

Henin 3-6 Serena
What drama – Serena holds her serve from deuce when she appeals to Hawk-Eye over a first serve called out and gets the electronic nod. We’re a set all – sack off your tea/homework/washing-up for a wee while, cos this is getting as spicy as a three-day-old chicken phaal.

Henin 3-5 Serena
..and then back comes Serena with her own ripping response, forcing Henin into two forehand errors and celebrating like an X-Factor winner when she snatches back the break.

Henin 3-4 Serena
Sensational from Henin – Serena’s barely got used to the idea of being a break up when she has one of her own ripped out of her grasp, squeezed out of the points with dead-eyed determination by the battling Belgian. The crowd loved that – no question that they’re bang behind Henin here.

Henin 2-4 Serena
Gasps of astonishment as Henin, facing her first break point, smashes a simple forehand miles long. Serena has her break, and she’s still moving as easily as a well-fed leopard.This was the chat from Richard Williams before this match: “The doctor has told Serena not to play and I’ve told her too – her fitness is not anywhere near 100%.” Pick the medical bones out of that one.

Henin 2-3 Serena
Oohs from the crowd – at 30-30, Henin is eyeing a break, only to pop a straightforward backhand volley into the net. She clutches her head in her hands, the equivalent of a normal player taking all her clothes off and running around screaming. Rattled, she glugs on a bottle of chocolate milkshake at the changoever and rubs her complementary Wimbledon towel over her furrowed brow.

Henin 2-2 Serena
Serena dashes her racquet to the turf as she duffs an off-balance backhand onto the tape. Henin barely glances up, motoring through her service game with the calm of a sleeping Buddhist monk.

Henin 1-2 Serena
Serena’s got a decent strop on now, rebel-yelling a furious “COME ONNN!” as she puts away a forehand to hold again. Didn’t go down at all well with the crowd, that shot – murmurs of disapproval from the sticklers for old-fashioned manners.

Henin 1-1 Serena
Henin serves bang onto the back line of the service box, Serena can only loft it back and Henin sends a leaping forehand whistling into the corner for a clean winner. The wind’s still gusting up here – it’s not a day for eating meringue.

Henin 0-1 Serena
Just the start Serena wanted, holding to 15 with more of those clumping groundstrokes. She’s reached for her grunt at the changeover, too – it was a key weapon for Venus earlier, and little sis gets hers going at double-lung volume.

FIRST SET

Henin 6-4 Serena
..and she’ll take it too, coming to the net behind a forehand right onto the line and punching away the resultant volley. Serena’s shoulders slump – she just let things drop a fraction in half a game, and the Belgian pounced. Richard Williams toys anxiously with the handle of his umbrella.

Henin 5-4 Serena
Which idiot mentioned a tie-break? Henin, ah, breaks Serena to 15, lofting a backhand volley over the stretching Serena on the first break point of the match. She looks up at coach Carlos Rodríguez and gives him the clenched-fist salute. She’ll serve for the set now…

Henin 4-4 Serena
It’s got tie-break written all over it, this one. Henin holds again, belting in a fizzer of a forehand and watching as Serena frames her return into the stratosphere.

Henin 3-4 Serena
Wallop – Serena creams a forehand cross-court, and Henin has no answer. Not even a sniff of a break so far, just two heavyweights battering each other furiously to the delight of the crowd. Blue skies and sun up above – get your party hats on.

Henin 3-3 Serena
Rock-solid serving from Justine, pummeling Serena into submission and scampering in to pass her when the inevitable drop-shot makes an appearance. I’m not knocking Serena’s notebook – I have one of my own which I keep open by my keyboard, containing such phrases as “You ARE somebody!” “Caroline Cheese is a nobody!” and “Type! Type! Type!”

Henin 2-3 Serena
“Fascinating duel!” says a rapt Sue Barker, and who am I to disagree? Serena comes to the net to pass Henin on her backhand, and she’s moving as well as Wayne Sleep at the moment. No sign of that notebook she was reading from the other night – the one filled with handwritten motivation slogans like “You’re #1!” “Turn and move!” and “You’re gonna win Wimbledon!”

Henin 2-2 Serena
Henin matches Serena’s shout with an “Allez!” of her own as a big forehand wrong-foots the prowling Serena. Lots of wind here on Centre Court, which is causing problems with Serena’s floaty dress. Where’s a tub of starch when you need one?

Henin 1-2 Serena
A brisk “Come on!” from Serena as another cheeky drop-shot and booming forehand keep Henin at bay. Henin bounces over to her chair and rips open a large energy bar, tucking away three decent mouthfuls before the umpire calls time.

Henin 1-1 Serena
Serena dinks in a drop-shot to put a small cat amongst the pigeons, but Henin cracks two vicious forehands onto the baseline to level things up. Licking of lips in the crowd – they know a tasty contest when they see one.

Henin 0-1 Serena
Super start to proceedings – Serena comes thundering in to a drop-shot and clouts her forehand straight at Henin’s throat. The ball thumps against the Belgian, who to her credit only flinches slightly, and flies off towards Croydon. You can smell the animosity in the air. Or is that the gentleman to my right?

1644 BST: Right – quick gulp of water after that tasty Venus-Shara clash, and little sis Serena and Henin are with us already. Could be a belter, this one. Is Serena fit? Is she over her spasm-induced calf strain? Will her dodgy bladder strike at key points once again?
Story from BBC SPORT

Serena v Henin as it happened

French Open Quarter-final result:

S WILLIAMS US v J HENIN Bel

4-6 3-6

GAME-BY-GAME UPDATES:

By Caroline Cheese

Second set

Serena 4-6 3-6 Henin
And that’s it. No fightback from Serena and Henin is still on for a French Open hat-trick. All a bit of a damp squib really and Serena’s lame forehand into the net on match point says it all really.

Serena 4-6 3-5 Henin
Great serving from Henin and a love game takes her to within a game of the semi-finals.

Serena 4-6 3-4 Henin
Still, this is nothing for Williams, who came back from 0-6 4-5 down against Henin in Miami this year. She recovers from 0-30 down to take this game.

Serena 4-6 2-4 Henin
It’s looking bleak for Serena. A mishit forehand drops wide and Henin is now two games away. The American is off to change her racket.

Serena 4-6 2-3 Henin
Henin has her clinched fist in the air as she comes back from 40-15 to deuce. Williams crumbles under the pressure and Henin makes it three out of three on break point chances.

Serena 4-6 2-2 Henin
During the changeover, Henin is drinking what looks like chocolate milkshake, or mud. It’s clearly not a magic potion because she comes out and drops the first two points as Serena nearly knocks the Belgian off her feet with the power of her groundstrokes. Henin clings on though.

Serena 4-6 2-1 Henin
The crowd are just itching to get involved with a bit of pantomime booing but they have to back off when Serena’s challenge of a line call turns out to be spot on. It would have given Henin a break point, too.

Serena 4-6 1-1 Henin
Serena takes her anger out on the ball and Henin doesn’t get a look-in. The Belgian double-faults at 0-40 and we’re back on serve.

Serena 4-6 0-1 Henin
Dreadful luck for Serena at deuce when Henin’s return clips the net and dribbles over. Henin takes the break when Serena’s woeful drop shot hits the bottom of the net – and there are the boos for the first time when Serena slams her racket into the clay in frustration.

First set

“Henin has come out with exactly the right mindset. She’s been so aggressive, going big on on both sides. I’m not sure how she got away with a first serve percentage of 44% though.”
BBC Sport analyst Sam Smith

Serena 4-6 Henin
Serena slams her racket on the ground as she’s forced into a forehand error by some brutal Henin hitting. An ace makes it 40-0 and the Belgian takes it with a forehand winner. She skips to the chair as Serena seethes.

Serena 4-5 Henin
Henin prevents a third love service game for Williams but she’s 40-0 down before she gets on the board and the American simply unleashes a huge first serve to close it out.

Serena 3-5 Henin
Serena tries to crank up the pace but she only succeeds in making a succession of errors. Henin one game away from the first set.

Serena 3-4 Henin
Williams turns up the heat on Henin with a second consecutive love service game.

Serena 2-4 Henin
Nice touch from Serena as she delivers a beautifully-disguised drop shot to lead 30-15. Henin responds with an ace down the ‘T’ but a double fault gives Serena her first break point of the match. The American is a little unlucky that her return clips the net and bounces up invitingly for Henin to bury. The crowd aren’t really involved just yet – we could do with a dicey line call to wake up the Parisians.

Serena 2-3 Henin
Serena holds to love. She’s hitting the ball with a bit more authority now after a tentative start. There’s another “come on” as she fires a forehand winner. It’s warming up already.

Serena 1-3 Henin
Serena gives it a “come on” as she battles back from 40-15 down to deuce – despite hitting one hilariously bad drive volley several feet over the baseline. Henin survives and we have a first “allez”.

“This should be the match of the tournament undoubtedly, but I’ve never taken Serena’s tennis seriously and I hope Henin beats her.”
sjsinclair01 on 606

Serena 1-2 Henin
Relief for Renie as she gets on the board. A few more first serves do the trick.

Serena 0-2 Henin
This is a pretty ugly start to the match, Henin making two errors on the backhand to find herself 15-30 down. But Serena belts a forehand hopelessly long and Henin survives.

Serena 0-1 Henin
Nerves? From Serena Williams? Well, it certainly looks like that. She double-faults to go 0-30 down and though she gets back to 30-30, Henin flicks a backhand return down the line to bring up break point. She takes it when Serena fails to put away a smash at the net.

1256: Here we go then. Le grudge match begins with Serena serving.

1255: Of course, a lot of the attention before the match was on their controversial 2003 semi in Paris, which Henin won in three. But perhaps more significantly, Serena beat the Belgian earlier this year in Miami having trailed 0-6 4-5.

1253: Richard Williams has got his camera out again, clearly relishing this match as much as we all are.

1250: BBC Sport commentator Sam Smith has some interesting chat on this match. “The word on the circuit is that Henin really doesn’t like playing Serena, she doesn’t relish the power, and I’m not sure if she really believes she can beat her.”

1246: Ana Ivanovic has barely left the court after her fine win over Svetlana Kuznetsova before Serena Williams and Justine Henin arrive for their much-anticipated clash.

Story from BBC SPORT: