New French Open champion Justine Henin's picture hangs outside the Family Circle Cup Stadium near Charleston, South Carolina
The French Open is my favorite Grand Slam tournament, but the women's finals have been consistently bad now for several years. Today, first-time finalist Ana Ivanovic, after making a blockbuster start, fell victim to so much anxiety that 67% of the points made by her opponent came from Ivanovic's unforced errors. The women's ace leader throughout the tournament, Ivanovic did not serve any aces, and she had a 50% first serve success. "Deer in the headlights" would most accurately describe Ivanovic's reaction to being in her first Grand Slam final, and it was painful to watch her. Henin won, 6-1, 6-2.
But this is nothing new. In 2005, former French Open champion Mary Pierce, played brilliantly throughout the tournament--I thought her chances of winning a second title were huge--then went to pieces when she faced Henin in the final. The final score was 6-1, 6-1. Last year, Henin easily defeated Svetlana Kuznetsova in another boring final, and in 2003, she easily defeated her compatriot, Kim Clijsters. Henin was ill in 2004 and did not enter the tournament, so the task of delivering a poor-quality final went to Russians Anastasia Myskina and Elena Dementieva.
This is Henin's fourth Roland Garros title, and her third consecutive French Open title. The only other woman in the Open era to win three in a row was Monica Seles. The most French Open titles ever won by a woman was seven, achieved by Chris Evert, who could have won more than that.
In addition to her four French Open titles, Henin has also won the U.S. Open and the Australian Open one time apiece, and she has been a finalist at the U.S. Open, the Australian Open and Wimbledon.