Player: Justine Henin
Current Ranking: not ranked
Notable Conquests: Elena Dementieva (5th seed, Russia), Nadia Petrova (19th, Russia) and Alisa Kleybanova (27th, Russia)
Today's Result: loss to Serena Williams (1st, USA) in three sets
Henin is the story of the tournament. Once again, an accomplished Belgian has come out of retirement and made it all the way to the final. This was the first Slam final between Serena Williams and Henin. Serena leaves Melbourne with two trophies once again. She and Venus won the doubles title yesterday.
I missed the women's final but woke up in time for the last two sets of the men's doubles final. Doubles TV coverage is rare and precious and the opportunity to see the world's top two teams go head-to-head even more so. The Bryans (USA) and Nestor (Canada)/Zimonjic (Serbia) are both finely tuned operations and they inspired a high level in one another today. As explained in a Masters Cup post, I have a bit of a grudge against Daniel Nestor from when he dumped Mark Knowles (Bahamas) so it seemed like poetic justice that it was the break against Nestor's serve in the third set which paved the way for the Bryans' victory.
So, with Serena in women's singles, the Williamses in women's doubles, the Bryans in men's doubles, Shingo Kunieda (Japan) in men's wheelchair singles and doubles (though with a different partner), Peter Norfolk (UK) in quad singles and Nick Taylor/David Wagner (USA) in quad doubles, we have seven repeat champions thus far. That will be it for this year, though. Last year's champs are already out in men's singles and mixed doubles.
I loved Federer's on-court interview with Courier the other night. 15 Slams and fatherhood have mellowed the man. It's so nice to see. He's genuinely funny - and in multiple languages! Now that he's playing for nothing but the joy of the game, is he, in fact, more dangerous?
All Part of My Fantasy
Thanks to Serena, I don't look like such an idiot after all. With her victory, I finished in the top 26% in the Racket Bracket. The narrative I had set out in my bracket was a pretty good one with Serena gaining her revenge over Clijsters but the reality was better: the first S. Williams/Henin final, two Chinese women in the semis and a nice run for Petrova.
Can Federer help me save face on the men's side?