Two Grand Slam finals in one
With the way the Australian Open between Justine Henin-Hardenne and Amelie Mauresmo ended, Saturday's Wimbledon final between the Belgian and Frenchwoman will be like two Grand Slams in one, Pam Shriver writes.
WIMBLEDON, England -- For women's tennis, this Wimbledon final between No. 1 seed Amelie Mauresmo and No. 3 seed Justine Henin-Hardenne is going to seem like unfinished business.
They met at the Australian Open final in January, only to see Henin-Hardenne retire in the second set because of a reaction to anti-inflammatories. Almost every tennis fan felt cheated by Henin-Hardenne's actions.
So Saturday's final will almost be like two Grand Slam finals in one.
A lot of people are going to be cheering for Mauresmo: She's a more likeable player and an underdog despite being the No. 1 player in the world. If she can win Wimbledon, that will erase all doubt about her being a true No. 1.
Henin-Hardenne is a much better clutch player, and I trust her more than Mauresmo in this match; but people will believe in Amelie more if she wins Saturday. She's just one match shy of gaining true respect as the No. 1 player in the world.
If Henin-Hardenne wins, she will be the 10th player to win the women's career Grand Slam and will raise herself closer to the elite women in Grand Slam history. It would be the sixth Grand Slam title of her career, and if she plays long enough, it wouldn't surprise me to see the No. 3 player in the world win 12 or 13 majors.
Brad Gilbert picked Henin-Hardenne to win Wimbledon without losing a set, and so far he's been right. I don't know if she will win the final, but Mauresmo will at least take a set from the Belgian. The Frenchwoman's game is better suited for grass because it allows her to be more aggressive and to serve and volley.
A ton will be on the line for both players Saturday.
ESPN tennis analyst Pam Shriver won 21 singles and 112 doubles crowns, including 22 Grand Slam titles, and was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2002.
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Dates: June 26-July 9
Defending champions: Venus Williams, Roger Federer
Time difference: Great Britain is 5 hours ahead of ET
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• Garber: Federer maintains supremecy
• Sheppard: Nadal No. 2, and closing, on grass
• Notebook: Gilbert deal to coach Murray not official ... yet
• Jensen: Federer learned from French Open
• Day 12: Mauresmo wins women's title
• Garber:Mauresmo keeps nerves in check
• Sheppard: Bryans complete career Grand Slam
• Shriver, Fernandez: Mauresmo held up when it mattered
• Men's final preview: Nadal won't be an easy out
• Day 10: Women's semis | Nadal reaches semifinals
• Garber: Mauresmo breaks through
• Garber: Nadal's transition to grass
• Shriver: Two Grand Slam finals in one
• Navratilova loses final Wimbledon match
• Paul Goldstein blog
• Day 9: Men's quarterfinals
• Garber: Baghdatis awaits Nadal-Nieminen winner
• Garber: Navratilova wants one more title
• Sheppard: Bjorkman wins five-set marathon
• Notebook: Women's semifinal previews
• Nestor-Knowles win longest Grand Slam doubles match in history
• Day 8: Women's quarterfinals
• Garber: Belgians meet for third time in '06
• Garber: Mauresmo at home in Wimbledon
• Hawkins: Sharapova not fazed by streaker, Dementieva
• Notebook: Quarterfinal previews