by Craig Hickman
Serena Williams celebrates her remarkable comeback victory over Justine Henin, rallying from a bagel set, to win the Sony Ericsson Open for the fourth time 0-6, 7-5, 6-3 in a dramatic match that is sure to go down as one of the best of the year.
And it's only March.
The year's two biggest tournaments, two victories for the "out-of-shape, overweight waste of talent" who defeated two different World No. 1's and ended the current's 13-match, two-title winning streak in the process.
Serena started nervously; Henin got nervous with the match on her racquet.
But when these two played well at the same time, there were some tremendous exchanges. Serena applauded Justine a few times; Justine's resigned body language showed her respect for some of Serena's stellar shots.
This was/is the rivalry in which I'm most interested and I'm glad this match delivered.
But for Serena to overcome a bagel, two match points, and 0-40 on her own serve when serving for the match, to come up with that deep, high-kicking second serve that skidded off the line on her first match point to close out the affair was truly remarkable.
ESPN's Bonnie DeSimone, as always, writes an excellent article about Serena solving Justine on her own, without resorting to on-court coaching. Serana, though against it, had used the WTA experiment throughout the event, but only when her opponent used it, seemingly to "level the playing field." In that spirit, Serena didn't call her father to the court after being comprehensively beaten in the first set because Justine, who's also against on-court coaching, didn't call upon her coach.
"I'm all about competing," Serena said in her post-match interview. "That's the beauty of the game, is to figure it out by yourself. You know, you're down 6-0, you're down two match points and you're able to come back. And I was able to do it on my own, not by calling out my coach.
"That's what tennis to me is all about. It's about you versus the other player, nothing else."
It better not be 4 years before these two warriors play again.
Nice job, women.
Justine withdraws from Charleston