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Serena Williams wins Australian open

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MELBOURNE, Australia — Serena Williams put an end to Justine Henin's hopes of a Grand Slam title on her return from retirement with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 win in the Australian Open final on Saturday. Defending champion Williams withstood a determined challenge from Henin before securing her fifth Australian Open title and 12th Grand Slam singles championship overall.

Williams' five Australian titles is the most by any woman in the Open Era, since 1968, surpassing the four each held by Margaret Court, Evonne Goolagong Cawley, Steffi Graf and Monica Seles.

Henin, who had most of the crowd support at Rod Laver Arena, couldn't match her fellow Belgian Kim Clijsters' feat of winning in her Grand Slam comeback tournament. Clijsters won last year's U.S. Open on her return from a two-year retirement in which she got married and had a baby.

Williams won the last four games Saturday to clinch the final in just over two hours, falling on her back in celebration after match point before shaking hands with Henin at the net.

"It's good to have her back, it's exciting," Williams said of Henin. "She can definitely be No. 1, especially with our ranking system, if she keeps doing well."

Still, it was an impressive run by Henin. She lost in the final of the Brisbane International tournament to Clijsters two weeks ago.

The unranked and unseeded Henin then beat four seeded players en route to the Australian Open final, including No. 5 and Olympic gold medalist Elena Dementieva in the second round.

"It's been a very emotional two weeks for me," said Henin, who put her hand on her heart as she thanked the crowd for support. "I thought it would never happen to me again."

Later, Henin said there was a feeling of disappointment, but accomplishment.

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In blackjack, you are trying to draw cards that total 21, or come closest to 21 than those held by the dealer without exceeding that number. To begin, the dealer deals two cards to each player. The dealer's first card faces up, the second faces down. All face cards (King, Queen, Jack) count as 10 each. All other cards count at face value except for the Ace, which counts as a 1 or 11 as you decide. (An Ace and a 6, for example, could be counted as a seventeen or a seven.) An Ace with any 10, Jack, Queen or King is a Blackjack. If you have a Blackjack, show the hand immediately and the dealer will pay you one and 1/2 times your bet. (Unless the dealer also has a Blackjack. In this case, the hand is a "push" (tie) and neither wins.)

If you do not have a Blackjack, you can ask the dealer to "hit" you, that is, give you another card. To indicate that you want to hit, scrape the cards across the table in a gesture similar to if you were pulling something towards you off of the table. You may draw as many cards as you like (one at a time), but if you go over 21, you "bust" and lose the hand. At that point, you must return your cards face up on the table immediately. If you do not want to "hit", you may "stand" by sliding your cards face down under your bet. After all players are satisfied with their hands, the dealer will then turn his down card face up and stand or draw as necessary. The dealer must draw to any count up to and including 16, and stand on 17. (Note: Some casinos require that the dealer stand on any 17 while others require that they hit a "soft" 17. A soft seventeen is an Ace and any other combination of cards that adds up to 17 (Example:  A, 6 or A, 2, 4). The odds say that it is to the players advantage when the dealer has to stand on a soft 17. To determine if the dealer hits or stands on a soft 17, look at the table. The house rule will be printed on the felt surface or posted on a sign at the corner of the table.)

Some casinos will offer single and double deck games that are dealt by hand. Others will offer games that use up to eight decks of cards and a "shoe" (plastic box) to hold the cards. Some casinos will allow you to hold your cards in one hand while others will only deal the game face up and not allow you to touch the cards. If you are allowed to handle your cards and you want a hit, drag the cards along the table surface towards you to indicate your request. If you want to stand, simply slide your cards face down under your bet. If you are not allowed to handle your cards, and you want to hit, drag your hand across the table surface towards you. To stand, wave your hand over the table. Your dealer will explain the gestures to you if you are not sure.

You should become familiar with the following terms before you play:

Blackjack : Any Ace with a 10 value card (10, J, Q, K). Pays one and 1/2 times your bet.

Bust: When you draw cards that add up to 22 or more over 21. If you bust, flip your cards face up and give them up to the dealer.

Hit : When you want to receive another card when you are below 21.

Splitting Pairs: When your first two cards are the same denomination (Example: 8, 8), you may "split" the pair into two separate hands and play each hand individually. You must wager the same amount as your original bet on each hand. Note that if you split Aces, you only get one card for each Ace. And, if the card you receive is a 10 value card, it is not Blackjack.

Doubling Down: If you are dealt a 10 or 11 and think you can win with only one more card, turn both cards face up and place another bet next to your original bet and up to or equal to the amount of original bet you placed. You will then be dealt one more card, face down. If your 3 cards beats the dealers hand (or if the dealer busts), you win on both bets placed. If your hand does not beat the dealer, you lose both bets. Note that some casinos will allow you to double on any 2 cards or on 9, 10 or 11. Ask your dealer if you are unsure what the house's policy is.

Insurance: If the dealers "up" (face up) card is an Ace, you will be offered insurance. Here you are betting that the dealer has a ten value card in the "hole" (face down). You can bet only 1/2 of your original bet. If the dealer does have a Blackjack, your original bet loses but your insurance bet is paid 2 to 1. If the dealer does not have a Blackjack, he takes your insurance bet. However, after he takes your insurance bet, the game continues and you are still playing a normal hand with your original bet.

Even Money: If a player has a Blackjack, and the dealer has an Ace up, the player may request "even money" in lieu of insurance prior to the dealer checking his "hole" (face down) card. The player forfeits the chance to be paid one and 1/2 times the bet if the dealer does not have a Blackjack also. But, the player avoids the "push" (tie) and get paid even money if the dealer does have a Blackjack.

Stand: When you don't want any more cards.

Push: A tie with the dealer.  Neither wins.

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<!-- Insert your title here --> MELBOURNE (AFP) - Serena Williams insisted Sunday she does not think of herself as one of the sport's greats despite claiming her 12th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open. The American beat Belgium's Justine Henin in a classic women's final 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 to win her fifth Australian Open title and move alongside Billie-Jean King on 12 Grand Slam singles successes. She is now six titles behind Americans Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova and seven behind Helen Wills Moody in the all-time Grand Slam stakes. Australian Margaret Smith Court, who presented Williams with her trophy on Saturday, is the all time leader on 24, with German Steffi Graf on 22. But Williams said she did not think her name belonged on the same page as the greats of the game. "I don't even think of me as a great, I think of me just as normal," the 28-year-old said. "I remember when I won eight and I thought it was so cool—eight grand slams! "Now I've got 12 and, oh my gosh, it's so cool." As well as her five Australian titles—a record in the Open era—she has also won one French Open, three Wimbledons and three US Opens. Despite taking to the court with both ankles, her right knee, left thigh and one wrist heavily strapped, she won both the singles and doubles titles—with sister Venus—in Melbourne. And she said she had no intention of slowing down in her quest for more major successes. "I don't see an end now—I feel like (I'll keep playing) as long as I'm happy and I want to do it and I enjoy being out there," she said. "Sometimes I think it gets a little bit redundant but I really love playing the Slams." She is yet to achieve the ultimate for a tennis player—a calendar year Grand Slam—and said she was aware of her vulnerability on the clay courts of Roland Garros, a Grand Slam she won in 2002 but has not be able to repeat. "I don't think about it," she said. "Every time I think about it, I lose in the quarter-finals of the French Open. "And, honestly, my best time to win was last year because I was up 5-3 in the third (against eventual champion Svetlana Kuznetsova) and I totally blew it. "My whole goal is just to get fit because I plan on playing singles and doubles at Paris. "So, if I do that, and I'm fit enough, then maybe I'm a chance." Williams said she would be happy just to be the leading Grand Slam winner—male or female—currently playing. "I just want to be with Roger," she laughed, refering to Federer. "I was trying to hunt him down, but the guy keeps winning. I'm like, dude, stop winning. The guy is amazing." A more serious Williams said she would prefer to be remembered for her deeds off the court. "To tie Billie-Jean King is cool but honestly my whole thing is to do what she did off the court," she said. "I think of all the amazing things she's done and that's what I want to do with every aspect of my life, which means getting involved in charities and starting my own charity. "In March I'm opening a second school in Kenya which I'm really nervous and excited about. "I think when you're given a talent you're expected to give back, you're not even expected, but I feel I want to give back, and that's what I'm going to do."