Sunday, November 11, 2007

Justine is Queen; Maria on Upswing

Justine Henin crowned herself the Queen of Tennis this weekend, but Maria Sharapova isn't too disappointed to take the title of Princess.

Henin, the world No. 1 and undisputed Roger Federer of women's tennis proved this weekend that she may not need the aforementioned title comparing her to Federer - perhaps the Swiss is the Justine Henin of men's tennis?

Nonetheless, Henin ended the year 63-4, including winning her last 25 straight matches. Her last loss came at the hands of baby-eater Marion Bartoli at Wimbledon. Henin took revenge upon Bartoli this week while on her way to the Madrid title by double-donuting the Frenchwomen 6-0 6-0 in round robin play.

Yet it was the brilliance of Maria Sharapova that shocked both the crowd and the resurgent Russian this week. After a dismal season in Sharapova terms (she was 36-10 prior to Madrid and had four dismal losses at the majors), Sharapova rolled through her round robin matches and then dispatched Serbian Ana Ivanovic in the semifinals in straight sets.

The final, in which Henin won in 3 hours and 24 minutes after a 5-7 7-5 6-3 battle, was nothing short of epic. Henin's sheer resilience and consistency in the tight second set and her ability to close out the title in the third proved again to everyone how dominant the Belgian is in this global women's sport.

No doubt 2008 will bring more great tennis from both of these women after such an incredible end to the season. With the prospect of a healthy Serena Williams, a resurgent Jelena Jankovic and the returns of Lindsay Davenport and Amelie Mauresmo (remember her?), the tennis season should be a competitive.

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