Tuesday, February 2, 2010



Serena and Venus are my two favorite athletes on Planet Earth and I am ecstatic that Serena "Gunslinger" Williams just won her 12th career Grand Slam singles titles AND her 11th career Grand Slam doubles title with her sister Venus last week. This is also Serena's record breaking 5th Australian Open title of her career These extraordinary achievements make Serena one of the top six female singles champions of all time with the future opportunity to move even further up the ladder of tennis greatness...

The victory in the doubles final also make Venus and Serena one of the top two most succcessful doubles teams in the entire history of women's tennis--they have only lost ONCE together in their career in a doubles Grand slam tournament out of twelve career final appearances!

So CONGRATULATIONS Sisters! You both continue to be tremendous inspirations to your many fans throughout the world--both on and off the court...


Serena, Venus Williams Win Australian Open Doubles Title
DENNIS PASSA | 01/29/10 Associated Press

MELBOURNE, Australia — Venus Williams is a much better doubles partner for her sister Serena than she is a keeper of the score.

The Williams sisters won their fourth Australian Open doubles title on Friday, beating Cara Black and Liezel Huber 6-4, 6-3 in the final at Rod Laver Arena.

At the end, Venus couldn't figure out why Serena was so excited about what she thought was a game point. And Serena was perplexed why Venus was so subdued on match point.

The problem: Venus had lost track of the score.

The sisters, sitting in front of their newly won silverware in a news conference, couldn't contain their laughter when asked about the comical finish to the match.

"I actually didn't know the score, I thought that it was 5-2," Venus said. "I really don't know how I lost track. So I was confused, but I guess that's just focus.

"I thought, she's really happy about this break. I thought, 'Wow, I've never seen her this happy'. But I'll go with it."

Serena was happy, and confused.

"Yeah, I thought, 'OK, this is exciting. We defended our title' and she was like, 'What's going on?' I'm like, 'The match is over. We're done now.' It was funny."

Venus said not knowing they were one game away from clinching the match might have helped.

"I guess it's easier to hold at 3-2 instead of 4-3. I thought it was break point," she said. "I didn't know it was match. I need to play all my matches like this without knowing the score. I think it would help."

The sisters broke Huber's service to open the second set and won the match when they again broke Huber, clinching it on a winning reflex volley by Serena. They high-fived each other at the side of the court after the win.

The Williams sisters won the Australian title for the first time in 2001 and added championships in 2003 and last year. Black, of Zimbabwe, and Huber, a South African-born American citizen, won the Australian Open doubles title in 2007 and were the top-seeded team in the tournament this year.

"I have to congratulate Venus and Serena for a great tournament – you guys are too good," Black said.

It was the 11th time the Williams sisters have combined for a Grand Slam doubles title.

Serena has 11 singles majors, also, and is hoping for a 12th in the Australian Open final on Saturday against Justine Henin.

Venus Williams has also won a mixed doubles title at the Australian Open – in 1998 with American Jason Gimelstob. Serena Williams was a losing finalist in mixed doubles here with Max Mirnyi of Belarus in 1999.

Black is still in this year's mixed doubles tournament. She and partner Leander Paes of India, the top-seeded pairing, will play Ekaterina Makarova of Russia and Jaroslav Levinsky of Czech Republic in Sunday's final.

Serena Williams is the 2010 Australian Open Champion

Serena Williams holds the winner's trophy next to runner-up Justine Henin of Belgium during the awarding ceremony (AP Photo/Mark Baker)


Serena Williams wins second straight Australian Open
By theGrio

AP Sports Writer

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) -- Serena Williams won her second straight Australian Open championship, ending Justine Henin's hopes of a Grand Slam title in her return from retirement with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 victory Saturday.

Williams withstood a determined challenge from Henin before securing her fifth Australian Open title overall and 12th Grand Slam singles championship overall, tying Billie Jean King.

King was at the stadium on Saturday night to take part in a pre-match ceremony to honor the 40-year anniversary of Margaret Court's four Grand Slam tournament wins in 1970.

"Billie, we are tied," Williams said. "So I've reached my goal."

Williams' five Australian titles is the most by any woman in the Open Era, since 1968, surpassing the four held by Margaret Court, Evonne Goolagong Cawley, Steffi Graf and Monica Seles. Court holds 11 Australian Open titles overall, most coming before 1968.

Henin, who had most of the crowd support at Rod Laver Arena, couldn't match her fellow Belgian Kim Clijsters' feat of winning in her Grand Slam comeback tournament. Clijsters won last year's U.S. Open in her return from a two-year retirement after getting married and having a daughter.

Williams won the last four games to clinch the championship in just over two hours, falling on her back in celebration after match point.

"It was definitely a tough match mentally and physically," Williams said. "We were both out there to prove something, and I think we did at the end of the day."

It was an impressive run by Henin. She lost in the final of the Brisbane International tournament to Clijsters two weeks ago.
The unranked and unseeded Henin then beat four seeded players en route to the Australian Open final, including No. 5 and Olympic gold medalist Elena Dementieva in the second round.

"It's been a very emotional two weeks for me," said Henin, who put her hand on her heart as she thanked the crowd for support. "I thought it would never happen to me again. I'd like to congratulate Serena. She's a real champion."
Later, Henin said there was a feeling of disappointment, but accomplishment.

"It's just more than what I could expect, I just have to remember that," Henin said. "Even if it's quite soon after the match now, I'm sure there will be a lot of positive things I can think about in a few days. It's been almost perfect. Just the last step, I couldn't make it."

And she's certain now about her decision to come back on the tour.

"I was curious about what my level would be and how I was going to deal with just the atmosphere on and off the court, how it would feel," Henin said.

"I felt I took the right decision, so it's good enough for me already. I got the results also in the last four weeks -- two finals. So I can be really happy about that."

Henin saved two break points to hold for 3-3 in a four-game run in the second set, winning 13 of the last 14 points in a dominant finish to the set. She maintained the superiority early in the deciding set, increasing that to 18 of 19 points before Williams held serve to even the third set at 1-1.

Williams, with her right thigh and left knee heavily taped as it had been for much of the tournament broke Henin to go up 2-1. The two then traded breaks, with Williams going up 3-2, a lead she never relinquished.

"I thought I was just giving it to her at that point," Williams said. "I didn't want to go out like that. I literally said to myself, 'I need to man up and start playing better.'"

Williams used an ace on her second serve to hold for a 4-2 lead, then broke again to move within a game of the title.
"It's good to have her back, it's exciting," Williams said of Henin. "She can definitely be No. 1, especially with our ranking system, if she keeps doing well."

The American holds an 8-6 edge in career meetings between the pair, including a 6-2, 6-0 win in Miami in 2008. At the time, it equaled the worst loss for a reigning No. 1, and Henin quit tennis two months later.

Henin won the Australian Open title in 2004. She quit during the 2006 final with stomach problems while trailing Amelie Mauresmo 6-1, 2-0.

Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova are Williams' next goal, with 18 majors each.

"Honestly, I'm just doing what I can. I obviously enjoy playing in Melbourne, clearly," Williams said. "I never thought I could catch up with Martina, because she's such an amazing champion."

The men's doubles final between Bob and Mike Bryan of the United States and Daniel Nestor of Canada and Nenad Zimonjic of Serbia was scheduled for later Saturday. The Bryans have won the title here three of the past four years and were losing finalists the two previous years.

The men's final between Roger Federer and Andy Murray will be held Sunday night, where Murray will attempt to become the first British man since Fred Perry in 1936 to win a Grand Slam major.

The Australian Open is Murray's 17th Grand Slam tournament, which is how many attempts Federer needed before winning for the first time at Wimbledon seven years ago against Mark Philippoussis.

Murray was beaten 6-2, 7-5, 6-2 in the U.S. Open final in 2008.

Two years later, the now 22-year-old Murray thinks he knows how to end the 74-year drought.

"I'm going to need to play my best match ever," Murray said Saturday. "That's what I plan on doing. If I do, I've got a good chance of winning."

Federer played in all four finals last year and will be appearing in his 22nd Grand Slam final overall, a record. He acknowledged that the pressure will be on Murray.

"I know what it takes (to win) and how to do it, which is definitely an advantage," Federer said. "I don't feel like the pressure's really on me having to do it again. I think he really needs it more than I do."

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Serena Williams Breaks Record--Wins 5th Australian Open Title and 12th Grand Slam Overall


Williams Outlasts Henin, Taking Australian Open
Published: January 30, 2010

MELBOURNE, Australia — As Serena Williams collapsed on the court Saturday, weary and elated after capturing her fifth Australian Open title, those who follow tennis, or perhaps sports of any kind, knew they had witnessed the performance of a great champion. She had turned back a pretty good champion in Justine Henin for a hard-fought 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 victory.

Serena Williams says one of the keys to her winning majors, and her fifth title in Melbourne, is “I get up for the big ones.”

It was Williams’s 12th Grand Slam title, which matches Billie Jean King’s total and is six behind Chris Evert’s. Williams is halfway to the record for major titles held by Margaret Court, who was at Melbourne Park to present the championship trophy.

Williams, 28, fought through pain to earn it — her right thigh and left knee and wrist were wrapped, as they have been for the past two weeks. And her grimaces and hobbled steps as she battled Henin further betrayed her distress.

Williams’s ability to endure is one of her vital intangibles, as is her ardor for the competitive part of the game. She played doubles here nearly every day, and she and her sister Venus won their 11th major title on Friday. These are only part of the reason Williams is the only active women’s player who owns a career Grand Slam. Yes, she has a thundering serve, a ballistic forehand and the ability, as Henin put it, “to hit the right shots at the right time.”

But mostly, as Williams said, “I get up for the big ones.” She demonstrated that early in the third set.

In the previous set, Henin used a symphony of shots to save two break points and held for 3-3, then won 13 of the last 14 points. Henin was a maestro, waving her racket and calling in every section of her orchestra — booming forehand winners, tinkling backhand slices that Williams could not run down — and controlling the rhythm of the game.

When Henin held serve to go up, 1-0, in the third set, Williams looked at her racket, and gave it and herself a talking-to.

“I thought I was just giving her too many points,” Williams said. “She was playing well, but I knew I could play better so I literally told myself, ‘I need to man up.’ ”

Williams leaned on her big, deadly and accurate serve to dish out 12 aces, then broke Henin’s serve three straight games and left little doubt that she was the best women’s tennis player in the world right now.

A couple of others emerged as winners from Rod Laver Arena.

Henin, for one. Her second tournament since returning to tennis after a 20-month retirement went almost perfectly. A wild-card entry, Henin was the emotional touchstone. Williams suggested that having Henin back, and defeating her, made this title a little more precious. And Henin was happy to be back.

“I felt like we both were out there trying to kind of prove something,” said Williams, who was fined $92,000 for losing her temper during a semifinal match at last year’s United States Open. “I think we both did at the end of the day.”

Henin rediscovered the magic that propelled her to seven Grand Slam titles. She matched shots and grit with the champion in ways Williams said she had not seen of late.

“As you saw today, she took me to the umpteenth level,” Williams said. “She clearly hasn’t, like, lost a step at all since she’s been gone. So I feel like I played a girl who’s been on the tour for the past five years without a break. I think her game is definitely better. I mean, it was excellent before she left. But, you know, I think she’s added a lot to it.”

The biggest winner perhaps was the women’s game. The last time a Grand Slam women’s final went three sets was at Wimbledon in 2006, when Henin lost to Amélie Mauresmo. Henin’s return, as well as that of her fellow Belgian Kim Clijsters, puts some heat on Williams and adds sizzle to the sport. Clijsters won the 2009 United States Open after taking time off to have a child.

Henin, 27, is seeking a career Grand Slam of her own, and will aim for it at Wimbledon this summer. In addition to 2006, she made the final there in 2001, losing to Venus Williams, a five-time Wimbledon winner. Serena Williams is the defending champion.

On the strength of her performance here, Henin has to be among the favorites to win her fifth French Open.

“Winning big tournaments — that’s my motivation,” Henin said, sounding much like Serena Williams.

Other players with major titles could find their way to the top of the rankings. Svetlana Kuznetsova won last year’s French Open to go with her 2004 United States Open title. And Maria Sharapova, who was upset in the first round here, has won Wimbledon and the Australian and United States Opens, and is capable of big performances.

Some intriguing talent entered the picture here when Li Na and Zheng Jie made the semifinals, the first time two Chinese players of either sex made it to a Grand Slam semifinal.

For now, however, the world’s No. 1 ranking belongs to Williams.