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Serena v Henin

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The women's clash that everyone has been talking about arrives on Tuesday when defending champion Justine Henin takes on Serena Williams in the quarter-finals.

Here's what BBCi commentator Sam Smith makes of the biggest match of the tournament so far:

"I don't think there's any doubt that these are the best two players in the world, especially on red clay, and it will be a brute of a match.

"But while these two are the best out there they are being caught quickly by some of the others and I don't think the winner is guaranteed to go on and take the title - there are too many other players playing well.

"I saw Kuznetsova playing Peer and you had to be there to believe the power with which she was hitting her forehand, and Jankovic is also playing well, as are Vaidisova and Ivanovic. Then there's Sharapova, although she's a long way away on this surface.

"Henin has played well so far but has a had a bit of trouble finishing off her matches, while Serena's not been anywhere near her best yet and she'll need to be nearer that level if she's to beat Henin.

"The last time they met was in Miami in April and Serena won after losing the first set 6-0 and saving match points. I was surprised afterwards because Henin reacted like she didn't fully expect to win the match.

"The word on the circuit I hear is that she 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.

"One factor that could come into play is the crowd. The last time Henin and Serena met at the French Open was an acrimonious affair when the Belgian won the 2003 semi-final and Serena left the court in tears to the sound of Parisians booing.

"And I think if Serena's not careful it could happen again. The Paris crowd love Henin because she's almost French - she's a French speaker and has done so well here.

"Serena has not exactly gone out of her way here to charm the crowd and if they get on her back again it could be difficult for her.

"They haven't had much to get stuck into yet but they're itching to get involved and they can be like a third player out there sometimes.

"But as for a quarter-final prediction - if Henin is going to win it has to be in two sets, otherwise it's Serena's match."

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comment by milanr3 (U8531056)

posted Jun 5, 2007

henin all the way!

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comment by shivfan (U2435266)

posted Jun 5, 2007

Both Sports Rep and I know that he didn't say that....
doh

He knows what I'm talking about.
erm

Henin takes the first set. I'm based in London, so I'll tune into Eurosport later, assuming I can wrestle the remote from the family!

Personally, I prefer Serena to Hingis, because tennis is about power. Hingis has a powder-puff second serve that doesn't belong in the modern tennis world.

That is what I like about the Williams sisters. They raised the bar in women's tennis.

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posted Jun 5, 2007

I repeat what I have said many times. I can't stand the "whack the cover off the ball" style embodied by the Williams sisters and Maria Sharapova.

I prefer watching subtle court craft epitomised by Martina Hingis, Amelie Mauresmo and Justine Henin. I admit however that a contrast of styles can be worth watching; it's just that, on the women's side, power currently triumphs over finesse.

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posted Jun 5, 2007

In response to sjsinclair01 comment, I am not sure you actually know anything about Tennis at all. The Williams sisters are exactly what the womans game needed. Many professional woman are gulity of having serves and especially 2nd serves which quite frankly a ten year old could return. Every so often someone will come along and raise the bar within a sport. ie. T Woods, Jordan, Navratilova, Schumacher. This will in the end make the sport better and this is what the Williams have done. Players cannot now rely on a nice spin backhand and Powerful forehand, they must have the whole package.

Finally how you can compare Roger Federer to Henin is beyond me. Federer does have a beautiful game, but he so good that Players that rely on Power (Roddick) don't even get a look in.

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posted Jun 5, 2007

Henin is a legend in womens tennis. She is the only player i feel keeps me on the edge of my seat and im guessing she will have williams running scared.

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comment by shivfan (U2435266)

posted Jun 5, 2007

That's fair enough, Phrasmotic....

You see, sjsinclair, this is how you express yourself in a less offensive way!

Henin wraps up the match 6-4, 6-3, so finesse triumphs over power, eh?
winkeye

Head won, heart lost....
sadface

I'm mourning Serena's loss.

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posted Jun 5, 2007

Actually I thought tennis was about speed, finesse, and more importantly the ability to play fantastic shots??? The womens power game is dull dull dull

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posted Jun 5, 2007

I did feel that Serena was struggling with her movement a little today, You know how they say on clay you always have to hit one more shot than you would like? Well that definitely looked true of Serena today.

Think Henin might have to work harder against Jankovic…

Mike, if it’s consolation, I think Serena will be more of a threat at Wimbledon.

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comment by shivfan (U2435266)

posted Jun 5, 2007

I have to admit, I thought Serena only had an outside chance of winning the French!
smiley

Henin must be favourite for the title, now. She does have the most attractive single-handed backhand that I have ever watched....

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comment by timmyb1 (U8510953)

posted Jun 5, 2007

on another surface this match might have been closer. no one has been able to even get a set against henin at the french for years, and on paper i don't think that serena had a chance.

mikesiva got it just right though: her backhands nearly as good looking as mine! smiley

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