Foot Fault!

Calling all the lines of professional tennis

Australian Open Memories: 2002 Women's Final

Over the years, Women’s tennis has come to be criticized and held notorious for its short, one-sided grand slam finals. While the latter part of the 00s has undoubtedly seen masses of blowouts and beatdowns in grand slam finals, it wasn’t always like that. Many finals in the late 90s and early 00s were bursting at the seams with vitality, drama and scrumptiously good tennis. One such match was the 2002 Australian Open final between Martina Hingis and Jennifer Capriati.

Firstly, let’s set the scene. After Capriati’s troubled teens, which included Grand Slam semi-finals at 13 and arrests for Maruijana possession and the shoplifting of a $15 ring, Jennifer arrived in 2001 finally having matured as a woman. Her tennis followed accordingly as she clinched both the Australian and French Opens and would end the year atop of the rankings. The 2002 Australian Open would repeat itself as both Martina and Jennifer waltzed through their halves of the draw, meeting in their second successive Australian Open final. A year earlier Martina was the world number one and favourite, but in the 52 weeks that followed the tide had completely turned. This time, Jennifer stood as the defending champion and world number one.

The match was a spectacle from the very beginning. Jennifer came out all guns blazing, while Martina sadistically toyed around with Jennifer in the way that only Martina knows how. This contrast in styles between the two supreme athletes led to some electric, lengthy and epic exchanges. Still, Martina took an emphatic 6-4 4-0 lead and looked to be moments away her fourth Australian Open crown. From this point on, Capriati’s fighting instincts took over as she fought and bludgeoned her way back from almost certain defeat, amid jeers and boos as she queried calls, let out her trademark expletive-riddled rants and told the enthusiastic crowd to “shut the hell up.” With three championship points saved, the pair eventually arrived at a second-set tiebreak, a tiebreak that turned out to be another one of those incredible, unforgettable moments in tennis. The heat burned holes in the pair as the champions exchanged epic rally after epic rally before collapsing into the shade after every point. Jennifer would fight her way through another lengthy exchange on championship point, before finally clinching the set and levelling the match for the first time since 15-15 in the very first game. And as Hingis’ spirit finally broke, Jennifer never looked back as she powered to the third Grand Slam of her career.


It was such an unbelievable viewing experience, and even just watching them as they wore each other down in the smouldering heat was tiring and painful. The way Jennifer managed to save most of the championship points with winners and forced errors was simply unreal. This match is her legacy, and it’s a pretty damn good one at that.

7 Responses to Australian Open Memories: 2002 Women's Final

  1. Polikarpov December 30, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    A nightmare. :bigcry:

    I have to disagree about Crackpriati coming out “all guns blazing.” If I remember correctly, she was pretty tentative and hit a couple errors in the beginning. But that’s mostly due to Coketina’s stellar play. She was hitting the ball deep, moved Crackpriati around, and worked the angles and court width really well.

    Coketina should have won the match in straights. Unfortunately, closing out matches was a big problem for Coketina during the latter part of her career. It seemed that she was actually afraid of winning because she would always opt to play safe instead of going of her shots, which allowed Crackpriati to have a crack at the ball. It was painfully evident in her semifinal match against Seles. She led 5-1 in the third, but didn’t close it out until 5-4. She actually kinda lucky there. I believed she would have lost had Seles broke to level at 5-5.

    In the end, it came down to fitness and Jennifer’s ability to end points in fewer strikes. Crackpriati didn’t exactly raise her game after winning that second set. It actually dropped a little due to exhaustion. But Coketina was in a worse shape. And for someone who relied heavily on fitness to work points, and fend of the hard-hitters, it was game over. Gawd, Crackpriati was just a bulldog. She never went away.

    Anyway, I can feel that La Borz is going to avenge Coketina’s loss this year. She’s gonna snatch yer faves’ wigs (did I say that right?) en route to her first of 37 grand slamsingles titles.

    • Tumaini December 30, 2010 at 2:36 pm

      You’re one dedicated Wingis stan. *bowdown*

      Oh yeah, Wingis slayed for the first part of the match, but I was just referring to one of the first few points which was amazing. Wingis quickly subdued her though.

      Yeah. I just remember Wingis looking like she was about to die on the court in the tiebreak. The heat completely murdered her. Anyway, which loss was worse to you - this, the Trashnus USO 2000 loss or the French Open final(s)?

      And yes. I mean who needs Coketina when you have Karolina Wozniacka? La Borz is just the modern Wingis with a marginally bigger forehead and a better serve, duh!

    • dadafafafGGSDA August 7, 2012 at 4:32 pm

      Happy 12th birthday to the two of you.

  2. Polikarpov December 30, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    Oh, fuck. I just wrote a blog entry. :spit:

  3. Pingback: Tweets that mention Foot Fault!: Australian Open Memories: 2002 Women's Final - --

  4. Polikarpov December 31, 2010 at 8:35 am

    This was definitely the worst. :bigcry: The loss to Vinas was bad too because I thought Wingis could have had a big chance against Lindsay. She stopped Lindsay’s winning streak against her that year and was playing really well throughout the tournament

    The ’99 RG final has always been my guilty pleasure. It was a lot of fun to watch. Peek Wingis drama. The underhand serve + backhand volley = :drool:

    She might have lost. But I think even the haters can agree that Wingis MADE that match. :worship:

  5. dadafafafGGSDA August 7, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    Hingis had this one. What the hell happened?!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,899 other followers