08 June, 2006

Tennis: Henin is through :-(

Cljisters is out.

Henin-Hardenne will now play Kuznetsova. Nobody expects a match, and I have to agree. Kuznetsova has a very tight, compact game. She hits everything close and hard. Henin should be able to stretch her out, pull her from her comfort zone, and dissect her.

I saw the end of the second set of the Cljisters match, and she was just overplayed. She was hitting the ball like a noble warrior who knows it's over.

Saturday, Kuznetsova will need to do the same thing Cljisters did, but without flinching. Cljisters was striking the ball hard and aggresively, but she was tentative at the wrong moments. That is a result of Henin's mixing up of every point, and her great defensive skills. On one point Cljisters pounded a ball deep to Henin's forehand, and she got to it. She barely got to it, but it was a clay court so she got that extra half-second that made it possible to get there. Cljisters could not have hit the ball any deeper, and harder, or any wider and it was still not enough. So, on her next shot she pulled off a little bit. That's all it takes.

Kuznetsova will need to have nerves of steel to keep striking the ball violently, even after Henin barely gets to them and wins points. If she has a day with those kinds of nerves, she might can maybe win but the odds are not with her.

A good all-court game beats a power hitter more times than not.

I know, I know. If that's so true, then where's Hingis? Hingis has not spent the time in the weight room that Henin has. The power hitters cannot blow Henin off the court like they can Hingis. (Remember, I said a "good" all court game.) Hingis has a definite weakness against power, and it keeps on costing her - dangit.

Henin should win. Henin deserves to win. I like Henin's game much, much better than anyone else's on the tour. I hope Kuznetsova demolishes her.

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