Wimbledon Tennis : Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters will face a fourth-round clash

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Wimbledon Tennis : Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters will face a fourth-round clash

Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters will face a fourth-round clash after each advanced into round three on Friday. The 8th seeded Kim Clijsters beat Maria Kirilenko, currently seeded at No. 27, with a score of 6-3, 6-3 in the third round of the Ladies’ Singles tournament at Wimbledon. Clijsters now advances to the fourth round in her first Wimbledon tournament since 2006. Henin defeated Russian Nadia Petrova with a score of 6-1, 6-4, and was a previous semi-finalist at the All England Club back in 2007.

Both Clijsters and Henin have been top-ranked players, and both hail from Belgium. Sharing some similarities in their path towards Wimbledon 2010, Clijsters and Henin both retired from tennis before making publicized comebacks in 2009 and 2010, respectively. Neither woman has claimed the prized grass court Wimbledon title at the All England Club as of yet.

Justine Henin

Since the final at the Australian Open, Henin has not shown consistent form. However she’s been performing quite well on grass this past week at Wimbledon, having made a smooth transition from the clay courts. She was able to beat out the 12th seeded Petrova in 68 minutes during round three Wimbledon action on Friday. Henin, a seven-time Grand Slam winner, is riding high after her impressive win against Petrova, whose aggressive and hard-hitting game was a tough challenge for the Belgian.  Petrova, just as Henin, is known for her inconsistency, and was unable to find rhythm against Henin throughout the match.

It has been a struggle for Henin to wrap up her matches as well as she was able to some time ago. In fact, her second round match at Wimbledon was the perfect example. Playing against Kristina Barrois, and leading 5-1 in the second set, the 17th seeded Henin let her serve be broken twice before finally wrapping up the match with a score of 6-3, 7-5.

Henin cannot afford to lose concentration against Clijsters.  This is sure to be a huge match, with Clijsters at the top of her game. Henin has said that a victory at Wimbledon was a big motivating factor for her coming out of retirement. “It is a dream of mine,” Henin said. “I want to work to get it. I make it a priority.”

Her lack of concentration at the 2010 French Open match led to her loss to Sam Stosur in the fourth round, which resulted in a disappointing oust from the tournament. This has led to the perception that Henin’s game is vulnerable right now, which could be an advantage for Clijsters going into their upcoming match.

Kim Clijsters

Clijsters has done an outstanding job during her two opening matches at Wimbledon this year, saying: “I feel that I'm definitely playing probably my best tennis that I've played on grass, you know, compared to even a few years ago.”

Clijsters wowed the world after winning her second U.S. Open title in only the third tournament following her return to the game last year. The Belgian took just 62 minutes to beat Kirilenko, the 27th-seed in a round three match on Friday at Wimbledon.  Clijsters has shown that she can deliver under pressure, and has improved as a player after her return to the game.  On the other hand, Henin’s inconsistency has caused concern, and she remains a work in progress.

The two Belgian women have a lot in common, both coming out of retirement with hopes of claiming the elusive grass court tournament cup.  Both Clijsters and Henin have shown that they are in top form, but Henin, who can be prone to inconsistencies, will need to maintain an unfailing mental focus to have a chance to advance past her fellow compatriot.



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