An early candidate for match of the year, perhaps?
We all desperately hoped for a Justine Henin vs. Kim Clijsters final in Brisbane, and we all knew how thrilling a match it would be, but Saturday nights epic exceeded expectations by a country mile. The two Belgians plowed through their respective sides of the draw, and the comeback queens gave us a little preview of just how exciting 2010 will be.
Clijsters, in her 5th tournament on her comeback, took the opening set 6-3 with power tennis that even Henin couldn't hang with. The momentum swung rapidly, though, late in the 2nd set, when Clijsters jumped out to a 4-1 lead, and the match looked nearly over. Henin, playing in her 1st tournament since May 2008, found her groove and dominated Clijsters in the next 8 games, taking the set and a commanding 3-0 lead in the decider. Clijsters then snatched the momentum right back, clicking on all cylinders to rally to 3-3. Both women held serve for the next few games before Henin held 2 match points at 4-5. Continuing with the story line, Clijsters saved them both, and forced a tiebreak, where she waisted 3 match points before emerging victorious, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (6).
“Huh, what a match!” said Clijsters, who improved her career record against her compatriot to 11-12. “I think we set the bar pretty high for ourselves for the rest of the year. It’s a great tournament to start the year with. I couldn’t be happier with myself.”
You can say that again. I'm sure Serena and the rest of the WTA just hopped on a practice court and trained their asses off to prepare for these two.