Myskina vs Henin Preview
February 19th 2003
Anastasia Myskina is one of the hottest players on the tour at the moment it would seem as her 2003 record shows. She currently has an 8-2 win/loss record and 1 career title to her name for the season already. In addition, she is on a seven match winning streak and has a strong chance to win eight consecutive matches when she takes on the number 1 seed at Dubai, Justine Henin-Hardenne, in the quarterfinals.
As the tournament in Dubai has progressed, many of the top seeds have struggled considerably to win their opening matches, particularly Amelie Mauresmo who only just won 7-6 in the 3rd set against Petra Mandula, and Henin-Hardenne, only prevailing 6-4 in the final set against unheralded German, Anca Barna. Conversely, Myskina has been able to handle her early round matches with relative ease after defeating another Russian, Dinara Safina, and Thai star Tamarine Tanasugarn in straight sets. In fact, Myskina has not dropped a set at all in six matches so her confidence will be soaring when she takes to center court to battle the Belgium number 2.
Player Stats 2003:
WTA Tour Tournaments Played: 3
WTA Tour Record: 8-2
Tournament Titles: 1 (Qatar Women's Open)
Hardcourt Record: 8-2
Highest Ranked Player Defeated: Chanda Rubin (Aus Open)
WTA Tour Tournaments Played: 3
WTA Tour Record: 9-3
Tournament Titles: 0
Hardcourt Record: 9-3
Highest Ranked Player Defeated: Lindsay Davenport (Aus Open)
Style of Play:
Myskina and Henin-Hardenne have different styles of play, most noticeably the differences associated with their backhands. Myskina plays double handed where she can generate a lot of variety in her game as it allows her to hit drop shots, moon balls, and powerful shots in most points with ease. However, the disadvantage of this is that on the run, she may not be able to get her racquet around the ball to give her enough time to hit a shot that will allow her back into the rally. By contrast, Henin-Hardenne is known for her infamous one-handed backhand where she too can hit any shot from any angle, particularly the slice shot which often allows her to get back into the rally by forcing her opponent to hit the ball with their own pace. This can be quite an advantage when playing power-hitters such as Davenport and Serena Williams.
During the match, Myskina should try and step into the court more when receiving Henin-Hardenne’s serve because she often throws in double faults due to a new service action she is still trying to adapt to after one or two years. By doing this, Myskina will be able to gain “free” points. Another strategy during the match would be to attack Henin’s forehand as the errors are prone to come from this stroke. However, as Henin plays more and more tournaments throughout the year, she is beginning to come into the net more often and subsequently if Myskina tries to do drop shots, Henin-Hardenne could take full advantage and win the point with her volleying technique.
Myskina and Henin-Hardenne have played twice throughout their careers on the WTA circuit:
As can be seen, Myskina defeated the Belgian in straight sets in their last meeting in August last year where she was an eventual semi-finalist after defeating Martina Hingis in the quarter-finals. This will undoubtedly provide her with added confidence as she goes into the match with virtually no pressure, as she is the lower ranked player of the two. On the other hand, both players will be eager to affirm their position as a player in the top 10 as Henin-Hardenne will be looking to better her semi-final appearance in Antwerp last week, whereas Myskina will want to continue her fantastic form as of late by making consecutive semi-finals in two weeks.
I initially predicted Myskina to win 2-6 7-5 6-1. But considering Henin’s poor performance in the 2nd round and Myskina’s winning streak, I think Myskina will come out the victor with a 6-3 6-4 win. Good luck Anastasia and enjoy the tennis!