Williams beats Henin, retains Australian title
19 minutes ago

Buzz up! 684 PrintMELBOURNE, Australia (AP)—Serena Williams has won her fifth Australian Open title, beating Justine Henin 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 in the final.

Williams successfully defended her Australian title and collected her 12th Grand Slam singles championship Saturday at Rod Laver Arena.

AP – Jan 29, 6:23 am EST 1 of 99 Tennis Gallery The 28-year-old American had won her previous four titles in Melbourne in each odd-numbered year since 2003.

Henin was two tournaments into a comeback and in her first major since the 2008 Australian Open. The seven-time Grand Slam winner quit while holding the No. 1-ranking a few months later.

FROM sport.espn.go.dom

Serena beats Henin for Aussie titleComment Email Print Share Associated Press

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Serena Williams put an end to Justine Henin’s hopes of a Grand Slam title on her return from retirement with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 win in the Australian Open final on Saturday.

Williams withstood a determined challenge from Henin before securing her fifth Australian Open title and 12th Grand Slam singles championship.

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Henin, who had most of the crowd support at Rod Laver Arena, couldn’t match her fellow Belgian Kim Clijsters’ feat of winning in her Grand Slam comeback tournament. Clijsters won last year’s U.S. Open on her return from a two-year retirement after getting married and having a daughter.

Williams won the last four games Saturday to clinch the championship in just over two hours, falling on her back in celebration after match point before shaking hands with Henin at the net.

Still, it was an impressive run by Henin. She lost in the final of the Brisbane International tournament to Clijsters two weeks ago.

The unranked and unseeded Henin then beat four seeded players en route to the Australian Open final, including No. 5 and Olympic gold medalist Elena Dementieva in the second round.

Henin saved two break points to hold for 3-3 in a four-game run in the second set, winning 13 of the last 14 points in a dominant finish to the set. She maintained the superiority early in the deciding set, increasing that to 18 of 19 points before Williams held serve to level the third set at 1-1.

Williams, with her right thigh and left knee heavily taped as it had been for much of the tournament, staged her own resurgence, breaking Henin in the next game to go up 2-1. Henin broke Williams’ serve in the next game, but the American broke back in the next to go up 3-2, a lead she never relinquished.

Williams held her serve in the next game with a second-service ace to go up 4-2, then broke again in the next game to take her within a game of the title.

The American holds an 8-6 lead in career meetings between the pair, including a 6-2, 6-0 win in Miami in 2008. At the time, it equaled the worst loss for a reigning No. 1, and Henin quit tennis two months later.

Henin won the Australian Open title in 2004. She quit from the 2006 final with stomach problems while trailing Amelie Mauresmo 6-1, 2-0.

Williams’ 12th singles major matched American great Billie Jean King’s career total. King was at the stadium on Saturday night to take part in a pre-match ceremony to honor the 40-year anniversary of Margaret Court’s four Grand Slam tournament wins in 1970.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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  1. Yeye Akilimali Funua Olade Says:


    Slammin’ Serena Williams wins Australian Open

    * Peter Rolfe
    * From: Sunday Herald Sun
    * January 31, 2010 12:08AM

    SERENA Williams stamped herself the undisputed queen of world tennis last night, shattering the fairytale comeback of Justine Henin to win her fifth Australian Open title at Melbourne Park.

    The US star firmly etched her name into the history books, winning her 12th Grand Slam title and defending her crown in a classic three-set battle at Rod Laver Arena.

    Henin’s story was the kind of stuff dreams are made of, a journey against the odds back to the top of world sport after a 20-month retirement from the game.

    But it counted little as a fired-up Williams, who had her own place in history in mind, delivered the goods with a thrilling 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 triumph.

    Spurred on by a raucous Melbourne Park crowd, Williams added to her 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2009 Australian Open titles with power, persistence and a never-say-die attitude in a match lasting more than two hours.

    She became the first player, male or female, to win five Australian Opens in the modern era.

    Thrilled to become one of the most successful players to set foot on Rod Laver Arena, Williams could also hardly contain her joy at tying the Grand Slam record of compatriot Billie Jean King.

    “Billie – we’re tied,” Williams said. “I’ve reached my goal.”

    “It’s so cool. It was my goal but I didn’t want to say it was my goal, but to even be mentioned in the same breath as her is awesome.”

    And she paid tribute to Henin’s gutsy performance.

    “It could have gone either way and I think she’s back,” she said.

    Less than a year after fellow-Belgian Kim Clijsters came out of retirement to win the US Open, Henin went agonisingly close to continuing the trend, but fell just short after a gutsy battle against one of the greats of the modern game.

    In a topsy-turvy first set, both players traded barbs before Williams seized the early momentum and skipped to a 4-1 lead. Henin broke back, then held serve to tie the contest 4-4. But Williams’ power and persistence proved too much and she won the first set 6-4.

    Henin’s fighting spirit saw her hit back to win the second set 6-3, but Williams was not to be outdone, steam-rolling her way to a 4-2 lead and never looking back.

    Record crowds have flocked to this year’s Open.

    Tournament officials expect the final tally will be at least 640,000 and as high as 650,000 when the gates to Rod Laver Arena and big screens around Melbourne Park are locked late tonight.

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