She said, she said
Serena cries foul, but Henin-Hardenne offers no apologyPosted: Friday June 06, 2003 10:48 AM
Updated: Friday June 06, 2003 6:59 PM
PARIS (Reuters) -- French Open finalist Justine Henin-Hardenne was unrepentant on Friday after being accused by Serena Williams of "lying and fabricating" during their acrimonious semifinal at Roland Garros.
The Belgian's 6-2, 4-6, 7-5, victory on Thursday exploded in controversy midway through the third set when Henin-Hardenne appeared not to follow normal tennis etiquette and allow Williams to replay a first serve.
A tearful Williams said later: "I was a little disappointed with her. It wasn't the turning point of the match, I should have still won the game. But to start lying and fabricating is not fair."
Henin-Hardenne, who faces compatriot Kim Clijsters in Saturday's final, said on Friday she felt comfortable with what happened.
"I wasn't ready to play the point. The chair umpire is there to deal with these kind of situations. I just tried to stay focused on myself and tried to forget all the other things.
"It's her point of view but that's mine now and I feel comfortable with it."
The incident occurred at 4-2, 30-0 on Williams's serve in the third set.
Unseen by Swedish umpire Stefan Fransson, Henin-Hardenne raised her hand to indicate she was not ready to receive and Williams then served into the net.
Williams had hoped Henin-Hardenne would tell the umpire she had raised her hand and allow the American to replay her first serve.
The Belgian said nothing and Fransson did not intervene, forcing Williams to play her second serve. She lost the next four points to lose the service game and, eventually, the match.
"I didn't have any discussion with the chair umpire," Henin-Hardenne said. "He didn't ask me anything.
"I was just trying to focus on playing the returns. She saw me and she served. It was her decision to serve. I just tried to stay focused on the second serve.
"But one point in the match doesn't change the outcome.
"We must not forget how intense the match was, how beautiful it was, how it's good for women's tennis.
"It's very important to concentrate on the positive things from the match and try to forget this kind of incident."
Henin-Hardenne's victory means for the first time since the 2002 Australian Open there will not be an all-Williams final at a grand slam between Serena and elder sister Venus. Serena's loss ended her run of four straight grand slam triumphs.
"I hope other players will believe in their chances when they have to play Serena," Henin-Hardenne said.
"The Williams sisters are doing a great job for women's tennis ... but it's good to see different faces at the end of the tournament."
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