In anticipation of tonight’s fantastically wonderful match-up of Serena Williams and Justine Henin, I’m trying something new: live-blogging from Arthur Ashe Stadium. Instant analysis!
If you feel like being a part of this bold venture, chime in in the comments section or get me on AIM at ‘Jets20012.’
8:16: One minute from the first serve and the seats here are barely filled since it took so long to kick people from the day session out. Why do they schedule these matches so poorly?
8:23: Early break! Notoriously slow starter Serena loses the first game on her serve. Think Henin is invested? Pumps her first pretty theatrically in front of Serea’s face.
8:30: Monica Seles is here, sitting next to David Dinkins (?!). Also Tony Bennett is here. My friend James’ take: “it really is pathetic what passes for celebrity at the open. how long before they cut to rosanna scotto”
Click ‘Read More’ to follow the live action!
8:43: Henin just saved two break points (henin ace, serena three straight unforced). Serena is awfully quiet right now (no grunting). Henin up 4-2.
8:48: Music selections over the last two change-overs: Lenny Kravitz “Fly Away” and Tony Bennet. Fresh.
8:49: Henin at 5-3. James’ take on the match so far: “this is like a grasscourt match. serve shot shot shot point, either by an error or a winner.”
8:59: Here we go! Serena just broke Henin, saving set point along the way. Not surprsingly, Serena’s getting louder. A screaming winner with a “Come on!” gets it at 5-5.
9:07: Back and forth winners, aces, four deuces and a Serena hold. She’s up 6-5, Henin on serve.
9:08: My friend Goldburn on the Serena hold: “good pressure game there. her head is in it at least.”
9:11: henin just blew 30-love, to get to 30-all. james: “notice how much dicier things have gotten for justine since her serving has gotten worse.”
9:14: Henin escapes trouble and saves a set point to hold at 6-6. Tiebreak!
9:15: Impossible passing winner for Serena on the first point of the tiebreak off a cutting drop from henin. 1-0 serena. goldburn, a serena fan: “how did she win that? ridiculous.” james, a henin fan: “i just let out a serena scream.”
9:19: Change sides. Henin up the mini-break, 4-2 in the tiebreak
9:20: pyrrhic victory from that first point? serena looks exhausted, henin up 5-2
9:22: Henin takes the first set 7-6 (3)
9:24: james insists on comparing serena-henin to capriati-serena: “what people said about capriati serena was what it lacked in quality it made up for in drama. this first set was as dramatic and of a better quality than those matchups.”
9:25: goldburn: “serena is hit or miss still. this is how justine always plays but can serena play at her best when it counts now. the way she played in australia.”
9:27: henin holds serve. better that she won in the tiebreaker? she gets to serve first, so serena will have to serve to stay in the match later.
9:30: henin gets the early break, she’s up 2-0. serena is getting VERY pissed off. appears to be cursing at herself. and she’s grunting like crazy.
9:34: Serena is running out of time. Down a set and 0-3 in the second
9:35: Carlos Rodriguez said he wanted Henin at the net tonight. it’s worked perfectly. 10 of 12 so far tonight.
9:39: Goldburn is starting to turn the page on this match. “well maybe this will get serena to be committed and try to play up to her potential. this time she was injured but she’s had her chances.”
9:40: Serena barely holds to get it at 3-1 Henin. But Serena looks tired — especially since that first point in the tie-break — and Henin is moving great. It’s hard to imagine Serena staying in this for three sets.
9:47: Serena is trying to overpower Henin and it’s caused a double and a couple errors. She has a break point
9:49: Serena had two break points, but henin holds to get it to 4-1
9:51: Change-over music? “What is Love?” by haddaway (made famous by Jim Carrey in the SNL skit). Christ.
9:52: the match is really on henin’s racquet. says james: “it was like, when she made an error, it was deuce, when she made a winner, it was her ad.”
9:55: Someone play Taps. Serena broken again, it’s 5-1.
9:56: Serena squel! Henin up 30-0 on her serve.
9:56: Triple match-point. When was the last time Serena melted down like this? And this quickly?
9:57: 6-1 in the second set. One of the worst losses for Serena in her career.
10:00: I just ran to the women’s locker room. Serena is sobbing.
10:06: I’m trying to make sense of this match. When was the last time Serena let a match this close get away from her this badly? James: “i cant remember, ever.” Goldburn said she’s at a crossroads in her career.
10:08: Serena will be speaking to the press at 10:20. I’ll be sure to update you.