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Nic Ladds 29th Jan 2010 - 13:21

Williams to serve it to Henin

This year's Australian Open final seems to have all the signs of a classic. Serena Williams just edges the betting over Justine Henin but with a massive eighteen Grand Slam titles between them, it could be anyone's game. I think that Williams' just edges it on paper though, but whatever the result it should be a great final.

Serena Williams (4/5) has had a fairly easy ride through to the final, dropping only one set all the way through and the world number one looks a good price to take the final.

Justine Henin (Evens) has dropped a few sets this tournament and her record on hard courts, Australia in particular, shows to me that she is the weaker of the two going in to this final and I will be backing Serena all the way.

Over the years, these two are pretty evenly matched with Serena just edging it with seven of their thirteen meetings over Justine's six. Five of Serena's seven victories have come on the hard courts though and this just proves the American's dominance over her opponent.

This leads me to think Serena could have a mental edge over her opponent going in to the match, if so then a 2-0 victory could be achievable and at 11/5 it certainly represents some value. If you think Henin could take one set off Williams in a 2-1 victory that is 3/1.

Henin will be hoping to emulate her compatriot Kim Clijsters who successfully came out of retirement after some time off. Clijsters won the US Open at her first attempt and coincidentally beat Serena in that final - so if you think this is an omen, Henin to win 2-0 and 2-1 are 9/4 and 10/3 respectively.

Looking at ways Justine could edge the match, you need to look at their semi-final matches. Justine was impressive in the victory over Jie Zheng and after a 6-0 6-1 triumph in such a quick match, the fitness factor could play a role.

This is in contrast to Serena's match as she was put through her paces against Na Li, and she is carrying a few injuries, so if there is a hope for Henin it lies there.

I think winning though, could be one step too far for Justine as getting this far is achievement enough for an unranked player.

Should Serena win, it would be quite an achievement as she has never successfully defended this title in four times of asking. Also the top seed has not won this event since...yes you guessed it - Henin in 2004.

Serena overall is the far better competitor here and fatigue aside, she has a better serve and better movement around the court which should help her on her way to a record breaking fifth Australian Open title.



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