I tried it once, and nothing terrible happened.
So here, for our second attempt at live-blogging the Open, I’ll be presenting a running account of the women’s semifinal between Venus Williams and Justine Henin at Arthur Ashe.
If you feel like taking part in the coverage, chime in in the comments section or get me on AIM at ‘Jets20012.’
4:14: If Venus and Justine have a rally that lasts more than 10 seconds this sellout crowd might freakout. They were dead silent in the first match
4:15: Three early errors from Venus and an early break. Might she be nervous?
4:20: Janet Jackson is sitting in the Williams’ family box, again. She was here earlier in the tournament.
4:29: Here’s a way to explain how awful the tennis was earlier today. Venus and Henin are playing a little tight (9 winners to 13 unforced errors). And already the crowd is louder and the tennis looks unbelievably clean. Just wait until this gets good. Henin up 3-2 and a break.
4:34: Looks like Venus is trying to use the same strategy she did in her quarterfinal match — she’s coming to the net. Only six games deep here — Henin up 4-2 –and she’s been there six times.
4:39: Awww, synergy! They’re playing Janet Jackson’s “I’m Here” during the change-over.
4:42: Henin two points from the set at 0-30, 3-5. Venus is learning that Henin’s return of serve — where she just hit an unreal passing winner — is not Jankovic’s return.
4:44: Venus’ serve comes back, finishes off Henin with a slicing ace. Henin will return to serve for the set
4:49: At double set-point Venus plays her best tennis. Hits two screaming winners. Deuce
4:51: Henin blows a third set point with an error. Says James: “this is exactly what happened when henin served for the first set in the serena match.” henin got tight and serena broke her
4:52: Two straight long errors from henin. venus breaks. someone is getting nervous!
4:54: Loudest Ashe has been today. 27 shot rally, 7 back-to-back shots at the net, most of them vollies. Venus wins the point
4:56: Venus exhausted from that rally? Two straight doubles on four very tired looking serves
4:59: Venus holds. Jelena Jankovic said this would come down to the key points. Venus is collecting all of them. She’s up 6-5 and has won three straight games.
5:02: The entire court is covered in shade now. Wind is picking up
5:03: 30-30 on Henin’s serve. It’s the battle of nerves! Says James: “most of their shots are bouncing by the service line…you cant explain that by wind alone”
5:05: Tiebreak! Henin holds serve. This is playing exactly like the first set of Henin v. Serena
5:07: 1-1 in the tiebreak. Is Venus disappointed she didn’t break Henin? Venus said two nights ago the reason she beat Jankovic in the third set tie break was because Jankovic was so demoralized after not being able to break her. Is the same true of Venus now?
5:10: change sides. Henin up 4-2 in the tiebreak, up a mini.
5:12: After failing to break and some impossible vollies from Henin, Venus’ body language is sagging. Down 6-2.
5:13: Henin takes the first set 7-2. Um, hi topsy turvy. At 5-3 in the set ALL Henin. At 6-5, ALL Venus. And Henin takes it.
5:14: Henin’s first and second serve have been unreal. wins 73% of the points of her first serve and 67% (!!) off her second.
5:15: By the way: Played out exactly like the first set as the Serena match. I suspect Venus won’t unravel quite the same way.
5:18: Justine starts the second set with a medical timeout. Apparently, she was having trouble breathing. Says james: “umm … thats called nerves justine”
5:20: james reminds me of that classic 2003 semis justine played with capriati. before the match everyone was accusing justine of calling timeouts at inopportune times. says james: “in the semis match with capriati she didnt call for the trainer even though she was technically dead because she was afraid shed get booed. and she said after the match never again will i not call for the trainer.”
5:25: Henin a ferocious animal? What did Carlos Rodriguez do to her? Henin is attacking the net and just BROKE Venus again. She’s up 2-0 in the second. Oh, and she smiled too! First time for everything.
5:27: Henin holds again. She’s up a set and 3-0. That’s a lead.
5:29: Venus will be on serve. Assuming she holds, it’ll go to 3-1. Justine said the biggest game fo the second set against Serena was at 3-1 when Justine held and steamrolled Williams. We’ll have to watch that service game VERY closely.
5:31: James on henin right now: “she’s so loose right now. notice how her shots are more penetrating deeper, closer to the corners of the court.” It’s Venus who’s tight
5:33: There’s the Venus hold at 3-1 (it was a challenge too). Here comes the biggest game of the match
5:35: Observation: What’s up with these cheek puffs? Justine was saying she was having problems breathing, but they both look Louis Armstrong between points
5:38: Here’s the ad and break point for Venus.
5:39: Screaming backhand winner for Venus. She breaks, we’re on serve. 3-2 Henin
5:46: Venus’s first serve is gone. Barely hanging on in this game, but Henin is letting her off the hook.
5:48: Venus gets her first serve in for only the second time this game. It’s good enough for a service winner. We’re tied at 3.
5:50: Venus looks much better when she’s not serving. Henin is playing tight again, dropping meatballs in the middle of the service box. Venus is doing what Henin couldn’t in the last game: taking advantage. Triple break.
5:51: A henin winner, and a venus error and it’s suddenly 30-40. She’s letting Henin back in this
5:53: “Bad Miss” was just groaned throughout the press room. Backhand error for Venus and it’s deuce. Both players getting too scared to break
5:53: “Another” was just groaned. Error Venus. Ad Henin
5:54: Service winner in the body, Henin holds from Love-40. Both Venus and Henin can’t close.
5:56: Venus just got her temperature taken. Weird!
5:57: It’s 0-30 for Venus. First serve still gone
5:58: Well it’s another triple break! Can Henin close? She’ll serve for the match if she can get this one. This one is getting away from Venus and fast
5:59: A break! She’s serving for the match. By the way, the rhythm of this match is SO WEIRD right now. Both players, even though they’ve only been playing 90 minutes, look like they’re going to fall over.
6:03: two points from winning and venus breaks! so many wasted opportunites for henin against a very erratic and nervous venus williams.
6:08: If Venus can find her serve here, we might have a very long match ahead of us
6:09: It’s 30-30, Henin again two points away from winning at 5-4 Henin
6:10: forehand error! goes wide on venus, it’s match point
6:10: backhand error, henin wins!
6:23: Venus entered the women’s locker room breathing hard and sniffling. i couldn’t quite tell if it was because she had been crying or because she was stuffed up. A stunned Williams camp gathered together outside the women’s locker room trying to figure it out. “She’s been eating, I just don’t get it,” said one. “Bad, unfortunate,” replied oracene williams, venus’ mom