Peter Bodo's TennisWorld - Kim Time?
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Kim Time? 01/05/2010 - 1:54 PM

95583687 by Pete Bodo

I've been thinking about Kim Clijsters a fair amount these past few days; I think she's going to have a big -- a very big -- 2010. So she's my choice as the most likely player of the year on the women's side; later this week, I'll also choose a potential male PoY for 2010.

My feelings about Clijsters didn't really crystallize until I read and thought about the return of Justine Henin. Yes, these two Belgians are joined at the metaphorical hip, and have been for a long time. And one reason I think Clijsters will do well is because 2010 represents a great opportunity for her finally to escape from Henin's shadow. I'm sure she wouldn't mind at all if she also puts Henin into her own. Payback. It's an itch.

The Clijsters saga, despite all those elements that could be stitched onto a sampler pillow, seems so artfully constructed that Kim or her advisers couldn't possibly have dreamed it up. In 2007, when she "retired" (it's a prettier word than "quit"), she had one Grand Slam title to her credit, and a long history as a talented but woefully choke-prone competitor. She was 1-5 in major finals, and 12-10 against her nemesis, the dynamo Henin. But keep in mind that from 2001 to 2003, Clijsters dominated Henin, including in some major events; from 2003 on, the tables were dramatically turned. The turning point came in Berlin, in 2003, where Henin squeaked out a win, 7-5 in the third. A few weeks later, the Sister of No Mercy surrendered just four games to Clijsters in a brutal Roland Garros final, winning 6-0, 6-4. That opened the floodgates: from that point on, Henin was 8-3 (4-0 in major finals) against Clijsters.

Clijsters also suffered at the hands of Venus Williams, although a few wins late in their rivalry helped Clijsters build the H2H to a respectable 5-6. Champagne Kimmy was less successful against Venus's sister, Serena, who was 7-1 (and 2-0 in majors) against Clijsters at the time the latter took her break from tennis. Clijsters did manage to wave good-bye with a positive H2H against Maria Sharapova, 4-3, although she was 1-1 against Maria in Grand Slam semis. Clijsters was a narrow 8-7 with Amelie Mauresmo, but hey - she owned that other Grand Slam champ, Svetlana Kuznetsova (7-1)! Didn't everyone?

Given all this, you might be inclined to think that Clijsters was totally bummed out when she heard that Justine Henin was following her out of seclusion, but the operative word there is "following." Henin is the one doing the following now, which is a 180-degree shift, and symbolic in a larger sense of where the two women stand in relation to each other. Given the way Clijsters stole the summer headlines in '09, the message seems clear: Clijsters has re-invented herself (that cute little kid of Clijsters is, among other things, a convenient distraction, although Clijsters certainly doesn't see it that way). The problem for Henin is that there was nothing to re-invent; she just faces the challenge of getting back to what she once was. She's burning a different form of emotional fuel.

The other day, in my post at ESPN, I went into the reasons that Henin might have a tougher row to hoe in her comeback than did Clijsters. I wrote that because her game is rooted in finesse and versatility, it may take her a long time to find her timing and turn her on-court decision-making into an instinctive reaction. But there's a little more to it than that. When I compared Clijsters to a four-wheel drive pick-up truck and Henin to a Ferrari, I was also thinking about where the game is, in general, and what it takes to win - on both tours.

Men's tennis has become, over recent years, a much more physical game. Pure power no longer reaps enormous benefits in the form of aces or winners the way it once did; it now pays off in long-haul stamina. Not just the ability to run for a long time, but the ability to maintain racket-head speed, quick-start muscle reactions, consistency of stroke. The relatively new polyester strings have played a part in this evolution; the harder you swing now, the more confident you can feel that the shot will go in. This has had a huge impact on the game (although we've seen that mostly in the men's game - so far).

A racket isn't a very heavy object, but when you have to swing it accurately, with something like full force, for two-and-a-half hours or longer, it can feel like an anvil. This will be an increasingly big factor in the women's game, too - just as serving power and efficiency is a new frontier that the women are finally beginning to explore.

Clijsters is well-positioned to take advantage of these developments, because she's an exceptionally physical athlete. A few weeks ago, Caroline Wozniacki told me (she was talking about her U.S. Open final against Clijsters): "That was the first time I’ve played her. She’s hitting a heavy ball. Every time you play short, she takes another step forward and wants to be the first to attack. She’s a good runner, too, and a fighter. I wouldn’t call it a different level from the other girls, but she was fresh and relaxed. She’s accomplished all she wanted already, so she’s just playing for herself and her family. I could feel she was relaxed and enjoying the game."

With all due respect to Caroline, I'm thinking it might be a different level.

We all love to watch tennis matches, and sometimes we get in too wrapped up in the details of the game - how someone hit the ball on a certain day against a certain opponent. We can learn a lot from that, but there's a forest-and-trees element at play, because so much of what happens in any specific match is determined by form of the day. We get a better understanding of the game if we look at how a player's fundamental profile fits into the gestalt. To me, the game is becoming more and more physical, and Wozniacki's experience puts into perspective the threat Clijsters represents to her peers and rivals.

If you want to read a counter-point, check out the piece Tom Tebbutt wrote for ESPN on this subject. Tom is a tennis aesthete who worships at the altar of Federer, irretrievably in love with "beautiful" tennis. And with Henin back and Roger Federer in command of the men's game until someone says otherwise, fans of pretty tennis are experiencing glory days. I'm not sure how much longer that will be sustainable, though. Last year's men's U.S. Open final was telling to me, in that it represented the first time that someone other than Rafael Nadal was able to play the game on his own terms on a big stage and get the best of Federer. Against Juan Martin del Potro in that final, Federer took his familiar position: Play any way you want; I'll still find a way to beat you. Del Potro responded with: Okay, its power tennis, with the emphasis on physicality.

In that match, Federer was banking on his formidable abilities to transition from defense to offense - to absorb del Potro's most punishing blows and use them roughly the way wise Yoda used The Force in Star Wars. Yoda, of course, was much older than Federer (Yoda was 900-plus years when he died; that's older than Jonas Bjorkman!) and his complexion was considerably greener than that of the olive-skinned Swiss. But in the end, Federer was unable to turn del Potro's power against him, and he spent most of the match futilely chasing rockets. Even when he did catch up with them, they were too hot to handle and fire back.

For different reasons, Clijsters took a similar, Federer-esque attitude into her U.S. Open semifinal with Serena Williams, but she came away with a different result (the match was close enough before the bizarre ending to draw that conclusion, no matter what might have happened at the end in a more conventional scenario). And she was one of the very few women who managed to resist Serena's shoving and pressing and athletic bullying.

95509212 The first time around, Clijsters suffered some injuries that hampered her effectiveness and probably contributed to her disappointing results in the late stages at some big events. But her game, specifically her physical attributes and abilities, were never in question. Like the lion in the Wizard of Oz, the thing she most needed was a heart. Other players, including Pete Sampras and Martina Navratilova, have faced and conquered a similar shortcoming. There's no reason Clijsters can't do it as well. If she's managed to banish her demons and her smoldering resentment of the way Henin once stole her thunder, she's positioned to flourish.

Now that the Williams sisters are nearing the finish line of their careers and appear to be in some stage of physical decline, Clijsters moves up is an ideal specimen for an increasingly physical game.


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Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 01:11 AM

Arun Thanks


Gosh Danni H is playing

I will switch to Hopman Cup

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 01:14 AM

Phil you crack me up

Jusr ran up quickly to give some encouragment to Sabine

5-3 GB

Come on Break Murray Now

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 01:16 AM

Dont worry Phik that probably was a fault by Andy and they missed it

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 01:17 AM

GB 6-3 mixed doubles

Good comeback by Germany

Posted by Arun 01/06/2010 at 01:18 AM

Murrob win the 1st set.

And Gasquet is serving for the match at 5-4, 30-all.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 01:18 AM

Thanks Arun

Posted by Arun 01/06/2010 at 01:19 AM

Gasquet wins 6-3,6-4.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 01:22 AM

Yay Richard

Way to go

Aussie men are out of Brisbane now

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 01:25 AM

Danni H won the 1st set over A.Szavvy 6-3

Leads 5-1 2nd set

Has 3 match points on Agnes serve


Danni H d A. Szvay 6-3,6-1

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 01:26 AM

Justines match will be in the night session at Brisbane

Posted by Angel of the Surf (A Complete Bobblehead) 01/06/2010 at 01:28 AM

Gee can't believe Murrob are playing that well in the dubs, they were great the other night though.

AM I noticed last night that Tommy had a different shirt on, are you aware that he has changed clothing companies. His shirt didn't look like a ST one and it was red.

Posted by Angel of the Surf (A Complete Bobblehead) 01/06/2010 at 01:31 AM

Woohoo the Germans break serve now can they just hold their own. Who is serving for the Germans please.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 01:33 AM

AA Nic also mentioned that before.Sorry I had a esrly night,I wanted to get up early to watch Rafa's match.I havent heard anything that he changed sponsors.Though the first night I watched him he had on white t shirt and shorts.

Posted by Arun 01/06/2010 at 01:33 AM

AA: Lisicky is serving now. now she played a good CC rally with Laura. BP for GBR.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 01:33 AM

AA sabine she just got broken

Posted by Angel of the Surf (A Complete Bobblehead) 01/06/2010 at 01:34 AM

Tommy's logo was on the other side of shirt and it was red and white.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 01:35 AM

GB to serve,Laura

Ger 3-2

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 01:37 AM

AA Well that was exactly like he wore the first night.I dont know when Spain is playing next.Maybe tomorrow.I will keep a closer eye.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 01:39 AM

Are Murrays short baggy enough? lol!

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 01/06/2010 at 01:43 AM

Morning. :)

We have a foot of snow and it is still coming down. Hm.

Thank you all for the Hopman Cup calls - Laura R seems to be doing ok. :)

Posted by Angel of the Surf (A Complete Bobblehead) 01/06/2010 at 01:45 AM

I know I just checked the sb.

Posted by zenggi 01/06/2010 at 01:47 AM

Good morning,

I'ven't watched any tennis yet. Shame! All recorded though. I'll read the Fedal comments later.

jewell, Give me snow anyday. We have ice all around.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 01:47 AM

Laura has played well in this doubles match

GRB 3-2

Posted by zenggi 01/06/2010 at 01:48 AM

I'ven't = I have not (new style)

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 01:50 AM

murray serving deuce

Murray with a ace

GB ad ,they hold

Gb 4-2

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 01:50 AM

Ger to serve,Sabine serving

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 01:52 AM

GB have 2 b/points

Posted by zenggi 01/06/2010 at 01:52 AM

Going on topic for a moment, and based in nothing more than chemistry and historial and idiomatic connections, I've always liked Kim's personality more than Justine's. On court is the other way around. Justine's game is beautiful to watch. So there, I have something good to say about my neighbours :)

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 01/06/2010 at 01:52 AM

Morning, zenggi. :)

according to the forecast, it's not going to stop till Sunday. eek! There is ice under the snow. I think somebody must have towed us north over Christmas while we were all too busy eating and sales shopping to notice. :)

Ah...Licky is lovely, always so smiley.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 01:53 AM

great net play Phil,with sabine ending the point

Back to deuce

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 01:54 AM

Ger had ad,Andy with a over head smash

Deuce

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 01:55 AM

Ger with ad point

Deuce

Posted by zenggi 01/06/2010 at 01:55 AM

I run every morning to the TV to watch the weather predictions. Horrible indeed.
I'm checking also that we haven't moved to Spitsbergen without anyone noticing it.

I'm going to work. At slack pace. Bye.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 01:57 AM

Sabine can you find a 1st serve

Laura with a great shot

Bpoint GB

Ahhh bad luck Phil with the lob

GB break again

GB 5-2

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 01:58 AM

GB to serve,Laura Robson serving for the match

Posted by greenhopper 01/06/2010 at 01:59 AM

All those matches on tour, and Kohlwhatshisname still looks like the weakest link out there.
Man, I'm really impressed with LRob right now.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 02:00 AM

Mixed doubles result

GB d Ger 6-3,6-2.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 02:01 AM

GH Laure shined in the mixed doubles today

GB won 3 zip in their tie.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 02:02 AM

oops sorry

GB 2-1

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 01/06/2010 at 02:03 AM

Saw the last few games or thereabouts - Laura really did look good and her depth on the groundstrokes was doing damage. Sorry, Germany fans.

I am not going anywhere today, it looks like - hope the power stays on.

Posted by tina 01/06/2010 at 02:10 AM

Greedy Genius shoes
http://www.footbing.com
tradertrade08@yahoo.cn

Posted by greenhopper 01/06/2010 at 02:12 AM

Hee. Laura said No to Andy asking her to team up at the 2012 Olympics.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 02:13 AM

GH yes,as if lol!

Pat Cash is a total Dork

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 02:15 AM

GH What time is Rafa;s match on pls

Posted by greenhopper 01/06/2010 at 02:19 AM

AM, he's the 3rd match on center court. The first match starts at 7:30AM TW time. So around 11AM TW time or later, I think.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 02:29 AM

GH thanks soo much,I can get extra sleep then

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 02:35 AM

Fox Sports news,January 6th,2010.

The answer to a voliatile siutation between Lleyton Hewitt and Bernard Tomic seems simple.Someone needs to pick up the telephone.

After Tomic crashed out of the Brisbane Tournament he was asked about the feud.

"I really dont want to talk about that.Thats not why I'm here for" Tomic said.

Hewitt who contined his unbeaten start to the year when defeating John Isner in the Hopman Cup said resolving the feud remained a low priority.

"Its not something I wory about too much and I wont lose any sleep over it" he said.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 02:50 AM

Ladies Brisbane results so far

Unseeded Lucie Safarova set up a quarter final clash with Kim Clijsters after a one sided upset of Canada's A.Wozniak.

Safarova d Wozniak 6-3.6-1.

D.Hantuchova d A.Szavay 6-3 6-1

Huntuchova is now coached by Darren Cahill.

Justines match is to be played in the night session in Brisbane.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 03:03 AM

Moorilla Hobart Inernational,6th January,2010.

Tasmanian Alyssa Hibberd has been granted a w/card by Tennis Australia into Moorilla.

The 17 yr old has produced some promising results on the national circuit over the last 12 months.

Posted by mina (meanie and proud of it) 01/06/2010 at 03:38 AM

wonder what made Cahill agree to coach Dani...

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 03:46 AM

Mina I went and picked up the uniform?

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

The t- shirt is a dress.Also we had to have our photos redone cause someone stuffed up

I saw some french players in the gym

Havent got our wet weather gear as yet

Posted by Or 01/06/2010 at 03:52 AM

Yikes. What news to wake up to. Apperantly Shahar's match was interupted for 15 minutes due to protestors with drums who could be heard all around the venue.

She won, but apperantly poor Rybarikova was affected (hence the bagel+breadstick).

Organizers wanted to stop the match, Shahar (and her coach) resisted.

Why can't they kick them out of the venue, I don't get it?

Posted by mina (meanie and proud of it) 01/06/2010 at 03:54 AM

LOL AM. we need to find a way to make it look less like a sack.

i'll be there early cos my roster starts on Saturday, last day of women's quallies.... No Dinara sighting?

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 03:58 AM

Mina Nah,I went looking at her usual practice court,no where to be seen

Though I did talk to a very nice guy call Tony who is a driver.He picks up the players and takes them from the hotel to courts in a Lexus.Most of the players are staying athe The Westin hotel in the city.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 01/06/2010 at 03:59 AM

Are you allowed to jazz the uniforms up a bit with accessories?

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 04:00 AM

I think Darren might be coaching Dani as he feels he needs a Mental Challenge

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 04:02 AM

Jewell Nothing could Jazz this uniform up,let me tell you

I will be wearing my Dark Chanel Sunnies

I pray and hope noone sees me or recognises me

Posted by mina (meanie and proud of it) 01/06/2010 at 04:03 AM

Westin? hmmm, near enough my workplace! LOL okay, i'm not gonna stalk them there, clearly security will throw me out... Olympic park is of course another matter. ha! kidding. maybe

Posted by karin1492 01/06/2010 at 04:04 AM

Justine Henin won the toss and chose to recieve. Sesil Karatantcheva will serve to begin the match.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 04:07 AM

Mina LOL!!! see you should have requested to be a Driver.Next year if you decide to do it apply to be a driver ok.You never know who you migh pick up lol!

Posted by mina (meanie and proud of it) 01/06/2010 at 04:09 AM

how to jazz up a sack, now that's a challenge.

so, um, Fed isn't much of a challenge for Killer? i would think so too. dude got the 14 and 15 back to back without a proper coach, i dare say he 's too easy a project. :P

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 04:09 AM

Karin Thanks,we are going to get this match on delay from Brisbane.Which is isaane seeing we are from Australia,our channel 7 still will be airing their normal programs.pfft.

Posted by karin1492 01/06/2010 at 04:11 AM

This is what I expected from Henin. Misses on the forehand and backhand. She looks rusty in the first two games.

Posted by mina (meanie and proud of it) 01/06/2010 at 04:13 AM

AM, i dont think the Federal Government would allow someone like me on the roads hehe. i have never driven before in my life, and will no doubt need months of lessons before i hazard a try at my friendly neighborhood RTA office :D

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 04:15 AM

mina I can tell you noone will look at us in Sacks

Thank goodness when I do my reporting I will be my usual Chic self

Bad news though,I will have baggage with me

Peter wants to come? triple pfft.

I will drop him off at Kenny Rosewall arena for the day/night with a couple of packets of Winfield Super milds (ciggies) he will be happy.

I cant have him cramping my style.Also he is too slow for starters.

Posted by karin1492 01/06/2010 at 04:16 AM

Karatantcheva is hitting the ball well right now. Henin still looks a bit rusty.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 04:17 AM

Mina Goodness sakes girl you have a whole year???????????????

Posted by karin1492 01/06/2010 at 04:19 AM

After Henin df to give away her game, she plays a very good return game winning two of those points with return winners and a nice drop volley to break back. It's on serve at 2/1.

Posted by Geellis 01/06/2010 at 04:20 AM

Not sure about this Peter. I like Clijsters. But: a) I'm not quite ready to write off Serena just yet. She's got a better serve than Clijsters, hits as or more aggressively off the ground, and remains the hungriest lion in the forest. A little long in the tooth? Perhaps, but she looked really good last year (the best most have seen her look in years) and, because of the breaks she's had from the game, I'm not sure she's that much older (in tennis years) than Clijsters or Henin. b) I really believe people have always WAY underestimated the power quotient in Justine's game and that's always really frustrated me. If you can find them, take a look at her serving (speed) statistics from her last year and compare those with her big babe peers. I think she'll surprise you. To me, she's a beautiful mix of Davydenko and Federer.

Posted by karin1492 01/06/2010 at 04:24 AM

To me, it looks like Henin hasn't remembered how to deal with the really deep balls. Karatantcheva has hit a couple of balls right off the baseline and it looks like she doesn't know what to do with them.

Posted by karin1492 01/06/2010 at 04:28 AM

Henin is missing routine shots right now, off both wings. If she looked like a player who hadn't missed any time against Petrova, right now she looks like a player who has been off for a while.

Posted by karin1492 01/06/2010 at 04:38 AM

Henin is still missing fairly routine shots. Her forehand right now looks really off. She's pulling out of it quite a bit, which is why it's flying all over the place. I have to say that if Henin wasn't missing so badly, Karatantcheva would be struggling to win games. Right now all she has to do is keep the ball in play and let Henin miss, which is working now.

Posted by ciaran 01/06/2010 at 04:41 AM

henin is always going to be better than kim,yeh she has had a kid but she is fat and large and looks like fiona the shrek in shrek(the film).peter is right she is a major choker and henin is not.kim beat nobody players in the finals of the us open(the worst major of them all,no class,it is just another hard court in north america,yes im european and wimbledon and roland garros are the best)

Posted by karin1492 01/06/2010 at 04:43 AM

Henin was helped out quite a bit by the new balls, which sped up her shots and Karatantcheva was spraying the shots wildly. She broke and will serve to finish off the first set at 5/4 up.

Posted by mina (meanie and proud of it) 01/06/2010 at 04:47 AM

is Sesil Karatancheva wearing the same Stella dress Woz wore at the USO? doesn't matter who wears it...ICK.

Posted by karin1492 01/06/2010 at 04:47 AM

Henin finally looked like she found some semblance of form in the final game, having just a spectacular bh down the line and finally drove through her fh without pulling out of it. She held at love and won the first set 6/4. I hope she's shaken the rust off of her game and flys through this second set.

Posted by karin1492 01/06/2010 at 04:53 AM

Did I really write flys? I'm not an idiotic third grader, it's flies. Either way, Karatantcheva looks like she's all arms and legs the way she is just falling all over the court. It's really uncoordinated and awkward-looking.

Posted by karin1492 01/06/2010 at 04:57 AM

Karatantcheva plays a decent game, helped out by a Henin df, and breaks to take a 2/0 lead in the second set.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 04:57 AM

Thanks karin for your match calls so far.

Posted by mina (meanie and proud of it) 01/06/2010 at 04:57 AM

Justine/Sesil:
http://www.freedocast.com/forms/PopOut.aspx?sc=532A428E31E0213F109B

Justine's fh is getting wilder... and not in a good way. up a set but now freshly broken, 2-0 Karatancheva

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 04:59 AM

Mina thanks,channel 7 is showing this match at 10.30pm.pfft.I will only watch a bit cause I want to get to bed early,so I can get up and watch Rafa's match.

Posted by mina (meanie and proud of it) 01/06/2010 at 05:02 AM

justine's got this. imma head off to bed cos Rafa's match is in the dead of the night, as usual.

Posted by karin1492 01/06/2010 at 05:02 AM

Henin tightens up her game and breaks back. Henin's really starting to hit through the ball now, and not trying to go for outright winners but hit through Karatantcheva. They're back on serve at 2/1 in the second set.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 05:04 AM

Gee if Karatantcheva had a decent 1st serve percentage,she might of held that last serve

Posted by karin1492 01/06/2010 at 05:04 AM

I wish Henin would slice the ball more with her backhand. She hits a flat ball most of the time with it, and I wish she used the slice more.

Posted by karin1492 01/06/2010 at 05:06 AM

Some nice serving and a really good forehand down the line and Henin holds to make it 2 all.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 01/06/2010 at 05:07 AM

That was a nice forehand, there.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 05:08 AM

Well I cant see Justine losing this match,she is playing well enough to win this match.

Though watching Kim yesterday.I feel Kim has the form and is the player to beat here.

Thanks Karin.

Bye for Now.

Posted by karin1492 01/06/2010 at 05:09 AM

Ouch, with her second foot fault of the night (which came on a second serve and made it a double fault) Karatantcheva hands Henin the break.

Aussiemarg: I don't think a higher 1st serve percentage would do much for Karatantcheva. She doesn't have an over-powering serve. She just likes to get the point started, from what I can tell.

Posted by karin1492 01/06/2010 at 05:12 AM

Henin finally looks like she has found her game, and holds relatively easily with a couple of serve-volley points to win the game and goes up 4/2.

Posted by karin1492 01/06/2010 at 05:14 AM

Another foot fault on a second serve by Karatantcheva.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 05:17 AM

Karin Just saw your post to me before I clicked off.Yes I agree with you there as well,her serve is weak.

Bye.I see she just handed Henin the break again.

Posted by karin1492 01/06/2010 at 05:19 AM

Helped out by three double faults (one of which was the foot fault that in retrospect didn't really matter because the ball she hit on that shot didn't make it across the net and would have been a df anyway) Henin gets the double break and will serve for the match at 5/2.

Posted by karin1492 01/06/2010 at 05:23 AM

Very bad stretch of points by Henin, capped off by a df to give one of her two breaks back to Karatantcheva. Karatantcheva has capitalized on break points tonight (two of which were given to her by df) going 3 for 3, so far.

Posted by karin1492 01/06/2010 at 05:25 AM

Match point for Henin.

Posted by karin1492 01/06/2010 at 05:28 AM

Which she takes with a forehand winner. Henin wins somewhat straightforwardly 6/4 6/3. She looked like a player who hadn't played in quite some time. She had a lot of bad misses off of both wings, but her forehand especially was off. She pulled out of it several times trying to generate more power. Overall, I still expect her to make the final, but if this player shows up there then Kim should beat her. If the player who played Petrova shows up, I think Kim will lose.

Posted by karin1492 01/06/2010 at 05:36 AM

Going back to Karatantcheva's game. I don't really see how she made the QF of Roland Garros. I wasn't all that impressed with what I saw tonight. Her movement is gangly, and she, to use a term I really hate, lumbers around the court. The announcer for the match made a reference to her name and saying that she didn't miss her name during her 2 year ban because inevitably she would end up calling her Karatarantula. I think the name works for her movement. She moved much like a tarantula, but with no fluidity of motion. All she could do was hit the ball back hard and hope Henin made errors. That tactic worked to a certain point, but Henin could tighten up her game (which she did) and got the win. Several times tonight I got the feeling that this match was going to be used by Henin to work out the kinks in her game, and that she wasn't worried about what Karatantcheva was going to try agaisnt her. I think I was right.

Posted by karin1492 01/06/2010 at 05:44 AM

Before I go to bed, I have to comment on the fact that they're playing Taylor Swift's new song "Fifteen" while Berdych and Baghdatis are warming up. That's a weird song to play at a tennis match. I like the song, but it's not the song you would imagine being played at a sporting event. It's a slower, kind of sad, song. Not the upbeat song that gets you moving in your seat.

Posted by kj 01/06/2010 at 06:15 AM

I don't know pete, I beleive that the federer of 06 would have beaten Del Potro. If you go on you tube and watch the first round of DOha that he played in you can see that he has not lost much of his speed, but his once perfect footwork is now prone to a bit of laziness. ( which can probbably be attributed winning everything and lacking a bit of motivation)

Posted by TennisFan2 01/06/2010 at 07:41 AM

Looks like I'm late to the party but I tend to agree with Pete that Kim may be the top dog out of Belgium this time around (and I hope she is). I was a fan of Justine until her shenanigans - she lost me after her "hand up" incident against Serena.

With all that's written about the Williams Sisters and their schedule management neither have chosen "retirement" to rest and heal their bodies before they jumped back into the game. They've been in it for the long haul and certainly deserve fan appreciation for gutting it out mentally and physically.

Imagine for a moment a "retired" and rested Serena taking some time off and jumping back into the fray just before the US Open - her opponents would be lucky to get a game or two. The "retirement" thing is bull**** it's really a vacation from the globetrotting grind that is professional tennis.

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