Players aren't the only ones who prepare for majors. Some of us like to watch classic matches the week before. Today, I watched the 2003 semifinal match between Justine Henin and Jennifer Capriati, and--even though I knew the outcome--it was almost as nerve-wracking to watch it today as it was in 2003. It remains one of the greatest women's matches of the last several years, and features a rain delay, injury, thrilling rallies, beautiful shot-making, temper tantrums, and enough momentum swings to exhaust spectators. Capriati was so close to winning so many times, but the brilliant, cramping Henin was tougher.
After winning the knock-down-drag-out semifinal, Henin told officials she was doubtful about playing in the final, but she did play, she did defeat Kim Clijsters, and she won the first of her two U.S. Open titles.