Friday, January 29, 2010

Aussie Open Day 11 &12: Serena and Henin, Federer and Murray to Square Off for AO Titles

Throughout Roger Federer's illustrious career, perfection has been expected, and nothing less. Obviously, we know that can't always be accomplished by on Day 12 of the Australian Open, the world number 1 gave the crowd a masterful display. The Swiss thwarted 10th seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in advancing to his 8th consecutive major final, 6-2, 6-3, 6-2. In just 88 minutes of play, Federer hit 33 winners to just 13 winners, breaking serve 5 times and not once being broken. Roger will get his chance to win back his Aussie Open title on Saturday, and it won't be easy.
The other world number 1, Serena Williams, had to fight a little more than expected to get her crack at the trophy. In the semifinal, Serena took on her sister's conqueror, Li Na, defeating the Chinese 7-6(4), 7-6(1), hitting 33 winners to 24 errors, while her opponent had a ratio of -18. Williams will go for her 5th Australian Open title and 1st in an odd-numbered year at 7:30 pm Melbourne time, 3:30 am Friday morning ET.

Federer's championship opponent? Andy Murray. The Scot defeated Marin Cilic in 4 sets, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-2. After getting off to a slow start, Murray played some of his best tennis of the tournament in derailing the Croatian 14th seed, who hit almost double the amount of errors as Muzz in his 1st ever Grand Slam semifinal. Federer and Murray met in the 2008 US Open final where the Swiss prevailed in straight sets, but Andy leads the head-to-head 6-4.

The story of the tournament, Justine Henin, kept her title hopes alive when she surrendered just 1 game in a dominating performance against Jie Zheng. The Belgian will face frenemy Serena in the final riding a wave of momentum after hitting just 14 unforced errors in 51 minutes on the court. Zheng's run reached a screeching halt, as she hit 3 winners in defeat.

Could we have asked for a better women's final? Grab your red bull, because I'm getting up at 3:30 am to watch this classic. Here is a piece from Henin's presser:

Q. Are you surprised it’s taken you so long to play Serena in a Grand Slam final?
JUSTINE HENIN: We’ve never played in a Grand Slam final in the past. It’s my first Grand Slam since I’m back, and we’re already there. So it’s more than a dream. I mean, I’m so happy to play against her because if I want to win another Grand Slam, I’ll have to beat the best player of the world. And that’s just the biggest challenge I could get.

I have to be honest, I didn’t really expect that. But now that’s a reality that is coming. I will try to be at my best.

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