Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Top Seeds Williams, Henin in Amelia Final

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Top Seeds Williams, Henin in Amelia Final

Article excerpt

Byline: Jeff Elliott, Times-Union sports writer

In a year when Mother Nature filled the Bausch & Lomb Championships with chaos and uncertainty, the championship match turned out to be as predictable as the seedings.

For just the second time in the last nine tournaments, the final will match the No. 1 seed against No. 2. The match on stadium court at Amelia Island Plantation will be televised live at 1 p.m. on ESPN.

That was assured following the completion of the quarterfinals and the playing of the semifinals yesterday when top-seeded and second-ranked Venus Williams, and second seed and ninth-ranked Justine Henin won semifinal matches to move into today's final.

The sixth career meeting between Williams and Henin was created when Henin beat Silvia Farina Elia 6-4, 6-4 in the quarterfinals and, less than two hours later, beat Jelena Dokic, who retired while down a set and trailing 4-1 in the second set.

Williams ended unseeded Anne Kremer's tournament run with a 7-5, 6-0 win in the semifinals, Williams' only match of the day.

"Justine is very versatile. She has great hands, she can volley, she can return, has good groundstrokes, she'll do whatever it takes to win a match, and not every player can do that these days," Williams said.

Williams has beaten Henin in four of their five meetings. They've met once was on a hard surface and once on carpet this year. Their only previous meeting on clay courts was in Berlin at the German Open last year, which Henin won in straight sets.

Henin has equal respect for Williams, calling her "one of the best players in the world, maybe the best.

"I'll have to be aggressive like I was today, and go to the net for points, too," Henin said. "I'll have to fight for every point. I won't give you my tactic for tomorrow, but I know what I have to do. I have nothing to lose.

Prior to this year, Williams had won only once at Amelia Island in three previous tournaments.

Against Kremer, who had beaten Sandrine Testud 7-5, 6-1 in a quarterfinal hours earlier, Williams trailed 5-3 in the first set. Kremer didn't win another game.

Williams swept through the next four games, allowing Kremer just six points during the run. …

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