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Page last updated at 08:27 GMT, Saturday, 30 January 2010

Serena Williams v Justine Henin as it happened

LIVE TEXT COMMENTARY (all times GMT)

To get involved text us your views & comments on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide). (Not all contributions can be used)

By Piers Newbery

It's good news for a Briton
1112: That's your lot, another piece of history for Serena and a tantalising glimpse at what lies ahead for Henin. So it's just the men's final to go then. I will be staying awake all night through nervous tension before we kick off our live text commentary from 0730 GMT tomorrow, with BBC One and BBC HD kicking off at 0800 GMT. There will also be highlights of the final on BBC One on Sunday night from 2255 GMT. And for those of you who will be up and about early, follow all the build-up on 5 live from 0600 GMT before their match coverage from 0830 GMT. Sorted.

1106: Serena is chuffed: "Congratulations to Justine for having such a great run, it was a great final and it could have gone any way." She then thanks a lot of people.

1105: Henin looks understandably emotional as she receives the runner-up trophy, and confirms: "It's been a very emotional couple of weeks for me. I'd like to congratulate Serena, she's a real champion, so well done. I'll see you next year."

1100: The great and the good are out on Rod Laver Arena now for the presentation, none greater or gooder... better... than Margaret Court, winner of 24 Grand Slam singles title. That's right, 24.

1100: "I think the courts, the weather and the relaxed style of the tournament suit Serena, she loves it here."
Judy Murray on 5 live sports extra

BBC Radio 5 Live
1057: "A terrific final, which is good to see as we've had some turkeys here in recent years."
Jonathan Overend on 5 live sports extra

1054: Both players are sitting calmly at the side of that court awaiting some for of presentation ceremony. I have a feeling something 'different' is planned. I hope there's no singing.


USA
Serena 6-4 3-6 6-2 Henin
Serena looks like she thinks she's won it with her 12th ace of the day, but it's only 40-0. Three match points... Henin saves the first with a mishit return but Serena smacks a fantastic backhand winner and that's it - Aussie title number five.
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SERENA WILLIAMS BEATS JUSTINE HENIN 6-4 3-6 6-2

* Serena 6-4 3-6 5-2 Henin
Henin's serve is faltering now. "I think her legs are going, she's not driving up on the serve like she was," says Sam Smith on the red button. Serena breaks and that could be that.
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Serena 6-4 3-6 4-2 Henin *
Serena nearly comes a cropper when she hurtles towards the net but just about stops herself before becoming entangled. She appears to have served an ace on game point before Hawkeye overrules, but the American repeats the trick to seal the game and celebrates like she's won the match. Big hold.
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* Serena 6-4 3-6 3-2 Henin
Henin wins a great rally at 15-15, lifting a backhand lob over Serena at the net and drawing a squeal of frustration from the champion. It's Henin who looks frustrated when she double-faults for 30-30, and Serena puts away a superb backhand return for 30-40 and break point... and Henin misses with the backhand.
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Text in your views on 81111
Jamie, Southampton, via text: "Is this 3rd set a replay of the Venus Vs Li match? Both player Struggling to hold."

* Serena 6-4 3-6 3-2 Henin
Henin wins a great rally at 15-15, lifting a backhand lob over Serena at the net and drawing a squeal of frustration from the champion. It's Henin who looks frustrated when she double-faults for 30-30, and Serena puts away a superb backhand return for 30-40 and break point... and Henin misses with the backhand.
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Serena 6-4 3-6 2-2 Henin *
I return from a comfort break to find Serena 0-30 down and she then hammers a forehand long for 0-40 and three break-back points.... Henin nets on the first and then misses her return on a tantalising second serve - but does not repeat the error at 30-40 and slides a forehand out wide that Serena barely gets the frame to. All square again.
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* Serena 6-4 3-6 2-1 Henin
Serena looks to have weathered the storm and she clenches her fist, urging herself on, when Henin leaks a forehand wide for 15-40 and two break points... Henin attacks the net but Serena plays a cross-court backhand that the Belgian cannot quite get to and Serena takes the initiative.
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Serena 6-4 3-6 1-1 Henin *
Henin is 'in the zone' or 'seeing the ball like a football' or any one of the classic tennis cliches. She fires two forehand winners for 15-40 and two break points..... but Serena is back! An ace and a nerveless drive volley bring her back to deuce and the American holds with another ace serve to stop the rot.
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Serena 6-4 3-6 1-1 Henin *
Henin is 'in the zone' or 'seeing the ball like a football' or any one of the classic tennis cliches. She fires two forehand winners for 15-40 and two break points..... but Serena is back! An ace and a nerveless drive volley bring her back to deuce and the American holds with another ace serve to stop the rot.
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* Serena 6-4 3-6 0-1 Henin
A solid start from Henin, who lets out three "Allez!" in a single game as the intensity moves up a gear for the Belgian. Serena dumps a poor drive volley into the middle of the net on game point and she needs to rediscover her game quickly.
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Text in your views on 81111
From Richard, Fulham, via text: "Welcome back Justine Henin, I can't remember the last time there was an exciting women's grand slam final."

SECOND SET

Serena 6-4 3-6 Henin *
A big change of momentum here as Henin clambers all over the Serena serve, sweeping away a forehand return to get to 0-40 and three set points.... and Serena dumps a forehand into the net. Ten points in a row for Henin and we're in for a decider after one hour and 32 minutes. Serena troops off for a bathroom break, Hein follows moments later.
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* Serena 6-4 3-5 Henin
Henin plays her best service game of the match and the Rod Laver Arena erupts as a third set looms.
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Serena 6-4 3-4 Henin *
Serena is in charge at 30-0 but a double-fault and another stunning Henin backhand put the game back in the balance at 30-30, and the former world number one attacks the net to force break point... Serena hits an ace, which Henin challenges only to see Hawkeye plant it smack on the line. The Belgian recovers to put away a delicate backhand volley for break point number two.... and takes it with a heavy return that Serena cannot handle.
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* Serena 6-4 3-3 Henin
Henin plays a magnificent backhand down the line but follows up moments later with a poor one into the tramlines and it's 30-30. A half-decent drop shot follows but Serena charges in to collect it and force the error from Henin at the baseline. Break point... and Serena goes very, very long with a forehand. Henin chases down a drop shot at deuce and puts it away, to a huge cheer, before sealing the game, to an even bigger cheer. Not much doubt who the crowd are rooting for at the moment.
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Twitter
From Chike_Dinozzo on Twitter: "am really rootin for a Serena victory.all this comeback queens are making d game look too easy.first clijsters, now henin."

Serena 6-4 3-2 Henin *
Serena finds her first serve to hold easily and she looks the likely winner at the moment, with Henin unable to find any consistency.
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* Serena 6-4 2-2 Henin
Henin has returned to the game this year with a remodelled serve and it's fair to say it's still a work in progress, as she's struggled at times throughout the tournament. She's under pressure again when Serena swipes a backhand winner for 15-40 and two break-back points... and the American converts the second to level.
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Twitter
From Greg Rusedski on Twitter: "serena and henin turning into a classic."

Serena 6-4 1-2 Henin *
Apologies, a manual refresh will get the service asterisk back on track. If you care about that. Henin moves to 0-30 with a smooth forehand down the line before Serena plays a howler of a forehand that has her wheeling away in disgust. Three break points for Henin... and the Belgian chases down a poor Serena drop-volley to stick away a backhand winner. Game back on.
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Text in your views on 81111
Bambo from Kazakhstan via text: "First set was like a hard work out session for Serena. I hope the second set will be a work over for her so she can end the Henin fairytale as quickly as it started."

* Serena 6-4 1-1 Henin
Henin is in big, big trouble at 15-40. Two break points for Serena.... but the Belgian stays alive with a couple of big serves and the help of two Serena errors.
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Serena 6-4 1-0 Henin *
Serena looks pretty exhausted, but then she has done for much of the fortnight and it's not affecting her tennis so far. A heavy serve out wide gives her the opening game of the second set, and Serena has never lost a match at the Australian Open after winning the first set. Ominous for Henin.
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FIRST SET

* Serena 6-4 Henin
The pressure is really on the Henin serve now as Serena has the first set within her sights. The American gets to set point... but Henin saves it with a good serve. A wayward Henin backhand follows and it's set point number two... and Henin catches the tape, sending the ball just wide. The Belgian chooses not to go to Hawkeye, surprisingly.
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Serena 5-4 Henin *
It's a similar story for Serena this time as she races through a love game.
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* Serena 4-4 Henin
Serena cannot make any headway with her returns at the moment, the last of which forces Henin to duck as it flies towards the backstop, and it's a love hold for the Belgian.
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Text in your views on 81111
From anon via text: "Here in melbourne, very hot both on and off the court. Looking forward to tomorrow night. Come on Henin."

Vengai, Zambia, via text: "Serena may not possess class such as Henin's, but she plays to win and win she does."

Serena 4-3 Henin *
Henin opens a with another of her aesthetically pleasing backhands and gets to 15-40 and two more break points... Serena bravely moves to the net and sees off the first but Henin finally makes the breakthrough with a forehand winner. Game on.
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* Serena 4-2 Henin
Henin moves to 40-0 with some decent serving before an ambitious forehand into the tramlines and a double-fault bring the pressure back onto the Belgian, and she's happy to see Serena net a forehand on the third game point.
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Serena 4-1 Henin *
"Allez!" A couple of Serena errors give Henin the chance to hit straight back with two break points at 15-40... Serena saves the first with a big serve and we get a bit of drama. Henin has several chances to win a long rally before playing a slightly dodgy drop shot that is called out, and then immediately corrected by the line judge. Henin pumps her fist and heads to the chair, Serena is not best pleased, but the umpire, rightly, calls for the point to be replayed and Serena whacks a big serve down the middle. A few boos ring out around the stadium - more for the officiating than towards Serena, I think - and the American holds when Henin nets a volley. More boos.
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* Serena 3-1 Henin
A double-fault puts Henin in danger at 0-30 and Serena earns three break points with a big cross-court backhand winner. Henin then shanks a horrible forehand and gives up the break surprisingly easily.
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Text in your views on 81111
From Matt Coates, Notts, via text: "I've got serena down to win this in 3 with her fitness and serve the deciding factors."

From Chris via text: "If Murray keeps his head, controls the nerves, I think it's 60:40 in his favour tomorrow. At least four sets for sure. Looking forward to it."


Twitter
From Glimiril on Twitter: "Morning Piers. A lot rides on Miles cooking Murray's meal well for tomorrows match, It's as good a foresight as any."


Serena 2-1 Henin *
Henin is attacking the Serena serve whenever possible and she gets the help of a net cord for break point.... but Serena wallops down ace number three. It's hardly Becker v Edberg but both women are prepared to come to the net, although Serena might think twice after she stumbles and nearly falls when a Henin backhand whistles past her. The Belgian is having the better of it so far - she plays a couple of beautiful forehand winners - but Serena is a toughie and battles to a hold.
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Hawkeye
* Serena 1-1 Henin
A beautiful, sweeping cross-court backhand gets the game off to a stylish start for Henin. A long rally follows which ends with Henin challenging another call - and Hawkeye overturns it again. Was it the line judges' annual dinner & dance last night? A couple of thunderous returns bring Serena back to 30-30 but it's a solid hold for Henin, who lets out a quiet "Allez!".
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A celeb has been spotted
0847: Hallelujah. We have a recognisable star in the crowd today in Eric Bana. OK, The Hulk was a bit rubbish but we'll let him off after a fortnight of swimmers and AFL stars. And we're told that the company of Jersey Boys will perform a medley of songs ahead of tomorrow's men's final. You have been warned.

Hawkeye
Serena 1-0 Henin *
The defending champion opens with an ace but falls 15-30 down with an error, and Henin then attacks the net and forces a dreadful Serena forehand that bounces before it hits the nets. Two break points.... Serena saves the first with a much better forehand and Henin frames a return on the second. The Belgian then looks to have earned another break point with a forehand down the line but Serena goes to Hawkeye and it was well out. The American does not look impressed. She fires what appears to be an ace and heads to the chair, only for Henin to challenge successfully - not a great start for the line judges. A couple more deuces are required before Serena holds after eight minutes.
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0841: Serena to serve...

0839: Ridiculously, this is the first time Serena and Henin have met in a Grand Slam final. The best two women players of the last decade have met 14 times, with the American leading 7-6, and she won their last meeting 6-2 6-0 in Miami two years ago. Since then, of course, Henin spent 18 months in retirement before returning this month. She is hoping to emulate fellow Belgian Kim Clijsters' achievement at the US Open last September of winning her first Grand Slam after coming out of retirement. A victory would give Henin her eighth Grand Slam title, while Serena can join Billie-Jean King on 12 singles titles.

0835: To the matter at hand, and you couldn't really ask for a better women's final line-up. Four-time and defending champion (and world number one) Serena Williams against former champion (and former world number one) Justine Henin. Inundate me with your thoughts via Twitter or with a text on 81111 (UK) and +44 7786200666 (worldwide).

The sun is out
0832: The players make their way through the tunnel under the stadium in total silence, understandably. A healthy cheer for both women as they walk onto court and the evening sun is just creeping over the top of the stands.

It's good news for a Briton
0829: Well, if you're British it might get a bit bigger, and I want to hear your thoughts on tomorrow morning's men's final. Peter Norfolk has shown Andy Murray the way by winning the quad wheelchair singles title for the fourth time - his 17th Grand Slam title. Can the Scot win Britain's first men's Grand Slam singles title for 150,000 years? Or is super smooth Federer going to roll him over as he did at Flushing Meadows a couple of years ago? Personally, I have absolutely no idea.

It's bad news for a Briton
0825: Morning all, happy weekend. Let's face it, we haven't got off to the best of starts - more snow, a lack of breakfast options in the BBC canteen, and Britain's Laura Robson lost to Karolina Pliskova in the girls' final overnight. It was a case of one Plsikova too far for the 16-year-old from Wimbledon, but she's had a great time in Australia. With the juniors done, it's time to see how their elders and betters (for now) perform - Serena Williams v Justine Henin. It gets no bigger.



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see also
Australian Open photos
30 Jan 10 |  Tennis
Robson loses Aussie girls' final
30 Jan 10 |  Tennis
Federer piles pressure on Murray
29 Jan 10 |  Tennis
Venus & Serena keep Aussie title
29 Jan 10 |  Tennis
Order of play
23 May 09 |  Tennis
Women's singles latest
23 May 08 |  Tennis
Men's doubles latest
02 Jun 08 |  Tennis
Men's singles draw
26 Aug 11 |  Tennis
Women's singles draw
28 Jan 10 |  Tennis
Tennis on the BBC
26 Oct 11 |  Tennis


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