Serena Williams set herself up perfectly for today's Australian Open final clash with Justine Henin by successfully defending the women's doubles title with sister Venus. The siblings proved too good for Zimbabwe's Cara Black and American Liezel Huber as they came out on top 6-4, 6-3 in yesterday's final to retain their crown and give them their fourth Australian Open doubles victory.
Venus said the match had been a real battle after both had suffered an early break of serve. She said: "Serena and I just had to work together. They were just playing so well. Fortunately we broke right back and that really helped to keep it close and hopefully keep pressure on. But, I mean, they played so well today. I have to give them credit. They really played like a No 1 team." Serena is now fully focused on trying to win her fifth Australian Open singles title and stopping Henin from completing a fairy tale victory in her first grand slam event since coming out of retirement. Victory against Henin would give her a 12th grand slam title and would see her equal compatriot Billie Jean King on the all-time winners list, which she claims is a motivation for the match.
"I definitely feel like I am hungry," she said. "I have a chance to tie Billie, Billie Jean, which would be great." Of the match she added: "It definitely will be a mental battle and who wants it more and wants the title more and who is willing to go the extra step. I think we both want it, you know. But we'll just see who's playing better." Henin said of the match-up: "We've never played in a grand slam final in the past.
"It's my first grand slam since I'm back, and we're already there. So it's more than a dream. I mean, I'm so happy to play against her because if I want to win another Grand Slam, I'll have to beat the best player of the world. And that's just the biggest challenge I could get." * With agencies Williams v Henin, Abu Dhabi Sports 2, 12.30pm