Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Is Carla Bruni against a political comeback for Sarkozy?

Read more

DEBATE

Clone of Pakistan Protests: Democracy put the test (Part Two)

Read more

DEBATE

Pakistan Protests: Democracy put the test (Part One)

Read more

ENCORE!

The French Maestro of Soul

Read more

FOCUS

US tobacco giants want lion's share of e-cigarette business

Read more

ENCORE!

Bold and bonkers: Kate Bush is back on stage

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Simon Serfaty, US foreign policy specialist

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'It's a War, Stupid!'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

French PM calls on ECB to go further to help economy

Read more

  • US military targets Somalia's al Shabaab Islamist group

    Read more

  • French education ministry picture sparks racist abuse

    Read more

  • UN backs Iraqi request for inquiry into IS militant crimes

    Read more

  • Obama calls for higher wages amid 'revving' US economy

    Read more

  • Video: Ukraine’s children return to school as fighting rages on

    Read more

  • Americans detained in North Korea call for US help

    Read more

  • US urges Israel to reverse West Bank land seizure

    Read more

  • Lesotho PM calls for regional peacekeeping force after ‘coup’

    Read more

  • Ukrainian forces retreat from Luhansk airport after clashes

    Read more

  • Teddy Riner, France’s unstoppable judo champion

    Read more

  • Death toll rises in Paris apartment building blast

    Read more

  • Iraqi forces free Amerli in biggest victory over IS militants since June

    Read more

  • French police arrest hungry hedgehog hunters

    Read more

  • Tripoli under control of militias, says government

    Read more

  • Monaco’s Falcao leaves Ligue 1 for Man Utd

    Read more

  • Spain orders custody for parents of ill British boy

    Read more

Sport

Williams beats Henin to conquer fifth Aussie title

Video by FRANCE 24

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-01-30

Serena Williams dashed Justine Henin's fairytale comeback finish Saturday, beating her 6-4 3-6 6-2 to conquer a fifth Australian Open title.

REUTERS - Serena Williams defeated Belgium’s Justine Henin 6-4 3-6 6-2 on Saturday to win the Australian Open for the fifth time after a match of unrelenting tension between the two best players of their generation.

The American weathered the storm after Henin sent the match into a deciding third set to wrap up victory after two hours and seven minutes and retain the title she won last year.

 
Both players were suffering from nerves at the start then battling exhaustion at the end but still managed to provide the packed Melbourne Park centre court crowd with some exquisite shotmaking and intense drama in their first grand slam final meeting.
 
“It was a great final and it could have gone any way,” Williams said after receiving the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup from Margaret Court, who won a record 24 grand slam singles titles.
 
Williams, wearing a citrus-coloured outfit, thumped down 12 aces and 32 winners while Henin provided a reminder of the form that earned her seven grand slam titles, including the 2004 Australian Open, with 28 winners of her own.
 
Despite the loss, it was still a triumph of sorts for Henin, who only returned to the professional circuit this month after quitting the game in May 2008.
 
 
FAIRYTALE COMEBACK
 
The 27-year-old needed an invitation to get into the tournament because she does not have an official ranking yet but rode a wave of emotion and support to become only the second wildcard to make a grand slam final.
 
Henin’s compatriot Kim Clijsters won last year’s U.S. Open after making her own fairytale comeback, beating Williams in the semi-finals.
 
“It’s been a very emotional couple of weeks for me,” Henin said. “I’d like to congratulate Serena, she’s a real champion.”
 
“I thought it would never happen again and finally I could really come back on the court and enjoy the tournament.”
 
Wearing an aqua-blue shirt and traditional white skirt, Henin looked in danger of being overpowered by the world number one when Williams won the opening set in 51 minutes.
 
However, the Belgian reeled off four games in a row to snatch the second set as the American started showing signs of fatigue.
 
Williams had also played in the women’s doubles, which she won with her sister Venus, and was wearing bandages on both legs but just when it seemed she was fading, she regained her composure as Henin started to wilt.
 
 
SEALED WIN
 
Williams won the last four games on the trot then sealed her win with a backhand deep into the court that Henin was unable to retrieve.
 
“I thought I just gotta man up, this is my chance, no matter what I’ve got one more set and I just gotta get through it and I did,” Williams told the Seven Network.
 
“I thought I was just giving it to her at that point... I literally said to myself I need to man up and keep playing better.”
 
The win gave Williams her 12th grand slam singles title and she joined American Billie Jean King, who was watching from the Rod Laver Arena stands, in equal sixth place on the list of female grand slam singles champions.
 
She also became the first woman to win five Australian Open titles since the game turned professional in 1968 and the first to successfully defend her title since Jennifer Capriati won in 2001 and 2002.
 
Williams almost missed the championship after landing in hot water following her foul-mouthed attack on a lineswoman during her loss to Clijsters at last year’s U.S. Open.
 
She escaped a suspension after the Grand Slam Committee opted to fine her but remains on a two-year probation.

 

Date created : 2010-01-30

  • AUSTRALIAN OPEN

    Déjà vu as old foes square up for Aussie title

    Read more

  • TENNIS - AUSTRALIAN OPEN

    Belgium's Henin beats Russia's Petrova to reach semi-finals

    Read more

COMMENT(S)