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Gamewatch: Mauresmo v Henin-Hardenne
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Wimbledon women's final latest:

A MAURESMO* Fra (1) v J HENIN-H Bel (3)

2-6 6-3 6-4

* denotes player serving

(seedings in brackets)


By Phil Harlow

Third set:

Mauresmo 6-4 Henin-Hardenne
Mauresmo completes the job to the delight of the Centre Court crowd.

She makes the perfect start to the game with an ace out wide, but is passed to her left on the second.

A second-serve ace, in by the narrowest of marhins, takes her 30-15 clear before a Henin-Hardenne lob drops just in to pressurise the score at 30-30.

Mauresmo makes a volley which sends her opponent the wrong way to set up Championship point and a forehand into the net from Henin-Hardenne gives Mauresmo a famous win and her second Grand Slam title.

Mauresmo 5-4 Henin-Hardenne
The tension is clear in the play of both players, but Henin-Hardenne comes through to put the pressure back on Mauresmo's shoulders.

We are about to find out just how much self-belief and mental toughness the world number one has as she embarks on the biggest single game of her career.

Mauresmo 5-3 Henin-Hardenne
As the match nears its conclusion, Mauresmo's mental toughness is being tested severely.

She goes 40-0 up before Henin-Hardenne fights back to 40-30. With the pressure on, Henin-Hardenne lets her opponent off the hook as another forehand is guided wide of the line.

Henin-Hardenne must now serve to stay in the match.

Mauresmo 4-3 Henin-Hardenne
Henin-Hardenne is nowhere near her best - and she knows it - but the third seed is keeping herself in the match through sheer will power.

Mauresmo 4-2 Henin-Hardenne
A bad line-call on the first point of the game gives Mauresmo justifiable cause to protest, but the world number one simply gets on with the job in hand.

Some fabulous volleying and court coverage keep Henin-Hardenne at arm's length as Mauresmo holds to 15.

Mauresmo 3-2 Henin-Hardenne
Henin-Hardenne's misfiring serve is also giving Mauresmo the chance to attack as things are once again on a knife-edge before she holds.

Mauresmo has another break point at 40-30, and Henin-Hardenne saves it by the skin of her teeth with a series of instinctive reaction volleys at the net.

But she seem to take heart from that as she wins two points in quick succession to hold on.

Mauresmo 3-1 Henin-Hardenne
Henin-Hardenne is a shadow of the player who bossed the opener, with forehand after forehand finding a home in the net.

Mauresmo does not need to do anything more than get the ball back over the net to hold to love.

Mauresmo 2-1 Henin-Hardenne
Henin-Hardenne's game is falling apart. She sends in a series of unforced errors, with her forehand in particular trouble, to gift a potentially crucial break to Mauresmo.

Is the pressure of going for a career Grand Slam - Wimbledon is the only major title to have eluded her so far - getting to the normally unflappable Belgian?

"At times you get the feeling that both players are almost trying too hard."
BBC commentator John Barrett

Mauresmo 1-1 Henin-Hardenne
Henin-Hardenne is trying to find a way to exert her earlier dominance on the match again, but she is being constantly undermined by mishits and unforced errors.

Mauresmo is still feeling her way back to her best as well but clinches the game with a second-serve ace.

Mauresmo 0-1 Henin-Hardenne
Both players make a slow start to the set, perhaps still thinking over their part in the last set's drama.

Henin-Hardenne holds unconvincingly, as Mauresmo struggles to rediscover her range on her backhand.

Second set:

Mauresmo 6-3 Henin-Hardenne
Things are never easy with Mauresmo - the tension is palpable as she makes heavy weather of the game before sealing the game and the set.

After working a 30-0 lead, Mauresmo lets things slip to give a break point chance to her opponent. She saves that point well, but then has to save another three before finally winning with an ace.

Mauresmo 5-3 Henin-Hardenne
Mauresmo responds superbly as she breaks back immediately - is this a sign that she's finally ridding herself of her notorious mental fragility?

A well-timed winner down the line and a lob that Henin-Hardenne can only send into the net to go 30-0 up.

Henin-Hardenne closes to 40-30, but a beautiful whipped backhand leaves the Belgian standing and gives Mauresmo the chance to serve for the set.

Mauresmo 4-3 Henin-Hardenne
Potentially a massive turning point in the match as Henin-Hardenne breaks back.

For the first time in this set, Mauresmo is put under pressure as Henin-Hardenne - suddenly back to somewhere near her best - earns two break points.

Mauresmo saves the first with her fastest serve of the match, but then goes long with a backhand to surrender her advantage in this set. The world number one looks distraught as she takes on some water at the end of the game.

Mauresmo 4-2 Henin-Hardenne
A glorious backhand on the retreat and an imaginative wrong-footing shot at the net further boost Mauresmo's confidence early in the game.

Henin-Hardenne grinds her way to game point only to play an awful shot two feet outside the line. She has to save another break point before holding onto serve.

Mauresmo 4-1 Henin-Hardenne
The momentum is very much with Mauresmo now as she holds comfortably again. Henin-Hardenne's first-set dominance seems a long time ago.

Mauresmo 3-1 Henin-Hardenne
Even Henin-Hardenne's volleying is starting to fray around the edges. She sticks two simple volleys into the net and is lucky to escape with a point after a net cord goes her way on another mishit volley.

Mauresmo forces Henin-Hardenne to deuce, where - after four deuces and a saved break point - the Belgian finally holds serve.

Mauresmo 3-0 Henin-Hardenne
Mauresmo is playing her best and most fluent tennis of the match, although the unforced errors are still making life more difficult than it need be.

The Frenchwoman holds serve though and, much to the crowd's delight, takes a commanding lead in the second set.

Mauresmo 2-0 Henin-Hardenne
Henin-Hardenne's serve goes AWOL and a noticeably more confident Mauresmo quickly earns two break points.

Henin-Hardenne saves the first with a perfect drop shot, but a long volley on the next sees Mauresmo gain a vital break.

"Mauresmo looks to be moving a lot more freely and she's playing better as a result."
BBC summariser Tracy Austin

Mauresmo 1-0 Henin-Hardenne
Mauresmo comes out all guns blazing as she looks to put her unhappy first set display behind her as soon as possible. She holds to love and lets out an Henin-Hardenne-esque "allez" in celebration.

First set:

"This has turned out to be a pretty one-sided first set."
BBC summariser John McEnroe

Mauresmo 2-6 Henin-Hardenne
Blink and you might have missed it. Henin-Hardenne races 40-0 up against a misfiring Mauresmo and then seals the first set with an ace.

Mauresmo 2-5 Henin-Hardenne
There is some uneven bounce on display, as an innocuous Mauresmo serve goes straight past Henin-Hardenne's swinging racquet.

Nevertheless, Henin-Hardenne forced Mauresmo to earn another break point and she takes it at the first chance to move further ahead. The first set looks to be over for Mauresmo.

Mauresmo 2-4 Henin-Hardenne
Mauresmo puts some real pressure on Henin-Hardenne's serve for the first time, securing a first break point of the match. She plays it horribly, sending a backhand several feet past the baseline to bring up a deuce scoreline.

Henin-Hardenne reasserts herself to retain a two-game cushion.

Mauresmo 2-3 Henin-Hardenne
Unforced errors are still coming off Mauresmo's racquet, but the world number one is also throwing in some exquisite passing shots for good measure. A more comfortable service hold suggests Mauresmo is starting to find her feet on Centre Court.

Mauresmo 1-3 Henin-Hardenne
Henin-Hardenne looks to be more at home on this big stage. Mauresmo's tentative returns are proving to be meat and drink to Henin-Hardenne as she continues to rush into the net.

Mauresmo 1-2 Henin-Hardenne
A mixed bag from Mauresmo. An ace is followed by a double fault, while a lovely half volley and a flashing winner down the line are enough to take the game.

Mauresmo seems to slowly be working through her nervous start.

Mauresmo 0-2 Henin-Hardenne
A horrible mishit from Henin-Hardenne gives the first point of the game to her opponent, but her volleying skills get her out of trouble as she consolidates her break.

Henin-Hardenne is eager to get to the net at every opportunity so far.

Mauresmo 0-1 Henin-Hardenne
Henin-Hardenne tries to stamp her authority on proceedings from the off, winning the first point and earning three break points.

The world number one, serving noticeably slower, saves two but is finally outgunned as the third seed breaks in the very first game.

"The combination of a great natural talent and an incredible iron will is what makes Henin-Hardenne one of the great champions."
BBC summariser John McEnroe

1402 BST: The umpire takes the players through the usual pre-match coin toss in the middle of the court. Mauresmo wins the toss (for the record, she calls heads) and decides to serve first.

"Mauresmo's backhand is one of the best I've ever seen in the game."
BBC summariser John McEnroe

1400 BST: Ever stickers for detail, the All England Club officials lead Henin-Hardenne and Mauresmo out onto court on the stroke of the hour to a huge reception from the crowd.

1358 BST: Both players walk from the locker room towards the court, led by smart-looking man in a suit.

Shortly before they reach the court they are given enormous bunches of flowers and then made to wait for an excruciating two or three minutes in silence. The atmosphere could be cut with a knife.

1354 BST: The players are button-holed by BBC reporter Phil Jones shortly before they prepare to walk out onto Centre Court.

"It's a great opportunity for me - the tension is there but that is normal. These occasions are what we play for."
World number one and top seed Amelie Mauresmo

"I try to keep the idea of the career Grand Slam away from me and just stay focused on my game."
Third seed Justine Henin-Hardenne

1340 BST: A brass band, cleverly playing the Grandstand theme tune, drown out John McEnroe, Tracy Austin and Sue Barker as the trio run through their pre-match analysis on Centre Court.

Wimbledon final photos
08 Jul 06 |  Tennis


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