While a Maria/Serena match is guaranteed to be competitive and fierce (and filled with lots of strange noises) and Kim/Justine match is about as certain to have equal amounts of weirdness. In both meetings this year (Brisbane and Miami) Kim won in the third set tiebreak in matches filled with wild consistency and random spurts of brilliance.
Today was just as strange. Justine game out, working that psycho killer game, hammering forehands, backhands, coming to the net. It kept Kim off balance, hitting tons of errors, missing first serves. And Kim just kept being Kim, driving us all nuts by playing at the speed of light and sticking in a totally crap rhythm. First set Justine, 6-2, in the blink of an eye (under a half hour).
The turning point, however, was early in the first set, where Justine slipped coming to the net, lost her racquet, and fell awkwardly on her arm. She got treatment for it twice, once during the first set and once after it. All of a sudden, the backhand started going. Makes sense, it’s tough to hit a one handed backhand if your arm is hurting. It was in her head.
And just like that, Kim flipped the switch. More first serves, cracking the forehand. Looking fearless. And into the magical Kim rhythm. She took the second set easily, 6-2, and then the third set 6-3.
Q. How much did it bother you after it happened?
JUSTINE HENIN: Well, it’s very hard to say. I mean, of course, it’s been mentally not easy to deal when I fall down on the court and the few games after. It was mentally not easy.
But after that, I mean, it was warm, and I could play. I don’t really now how it affected it. So we’ll see in the next few days.
Q. Was there a particular shot that it bothered you on the most?
JUSTINE HENIN: On serve and backhand a little bit. But we’ll see.
BG said it best when he said “she’s trying to play a bigger game than her size.” Especially when the backhand isn’t work… indeed.