Clijsters and Henin – second round Wimbledon previews

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Clijsters and Henin – second round Wimbledon previews

The two Belgian comeback queens are safely through to the second round at Wimbledon, and on track for a potential fourth-round clash. But who do Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin play in the second round in SW19?

Kim Clijsters v Karolina Sprem

Clijsters blew first-round opponent Maria Elena Camerin off the court in the opening set of her first-round match, before the Italian made the US Open champion work a bit harder for the second set and an eventual 6-0, 6-3 victory.

It was a strong start by the eighth seed who told the media afterwards that, “I think overall I think I played a good match...What's really important on grass is that you stay on top of your baseline. That's something I'm going to have to do. If I can do that, that's when I know I'm playing some of my best tennis.

“My next match [against Sprem] is going to be a very tricky one. That's where I'll probably get tested the most, I think, so far,” Clijsters said.

That said, in four previous matches – all played in part one of Clijsters’ career – the Belgian hasn’t dropped a set against Sprem, who arrived at the All England Club as the world No. 104.

The danger perhaps lies in the fact that Sprem, as shown by the fact she defeated Venus Williams on her way to the quarter-finals at Wimbledon in 2004, is a more than capable grass-court player. However, early losses at the Wimbledon warm-ups in Birmingham and Eastbourne indicate 2010 may not be the time the Croatian makes another run to the second week at the All England Club.

Justine Henin v Kristina Barrois

Winning Wimbledon was undoubtedly right near the top of Henin’s “to do” list when she returned to professional tennis at the start of the year, and the 17th seed is a step closer after her 6-4, 6-3 victory over Anastasija Sevastova in the first round.

“That [winning Wimbledon] remains a dream for me,” Henin said after her first-round match yesterday. “In another way, I'm very realistic as it's a year of transition, and I had some opportunities in the past, you know, that I could never take.

“But still a few more to come. But I don't put a lot of pressure on myself at the moment as I know it's been very good things in this season, but some ups and downs.”

One of the big positives heading into Wimbledon was Henin’s victory in the final of the grass court Unicef Open in Holland over the weekend. Barrois was one of the players the former world No. 1 defeated there en route to her second title of the year.

The German is through to the second round at the All England Club for the first time in her career, but will know from very recent experience that Henin will be a tough opponent to topple if she wants to set a personal best Grand Slam result at Wimbledon this year.

Henin may be right to keep a lid on her Wimbledon championship ambitions at this stage of the game, but they should still be alive when this match is over.



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