Kim & Justine In Antwerp
Published December 10, 2010 12:00
ANTWERP, Belgium - The third annual GDF SUEZ Diamond Games exhibition took place at the Sportpaleis in Antwerp on Thursday evening, and it was two of Belgium's greatest athletes of all time who stole the show, as Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin dazzled their home crowd with an exciting encounter.
Clijsters had won all three of her meetings against Henin since both returned to the WTA from retirement, had a fast start, winning the first set in 25 minutes, 6-1; Henin came back with a 6-3 second set, but Clijsters was too strong in the match tie-break, dusting off a 61 36 105 victory in an hour and 11 minutes.
"I enjoy watching Justine play, but not when she is in front of me!" Clijsters joked after the match. "Justine is a class act."
"It was very intense. I could feel the adrenaline flow through my entire body," Henin said. "Things didn't go as I wanted but it was a delight playing here.
"It was an awesome audience."
Clijsters had a phenomenal second half of the season, winning Cincinnati, the US Open and the WTA Championships - Doha 2010. Henin had not played since Wimbledon, in fact since her fourth round loss there to Clijsters, missing all events since then due to an elbow injury suffered in that match.
"I liked the season all the same," Henin said. "My goal was to make it to Doha and I certainly would have, provided I could have played the entire season. My start was excellent with a final at the Australian Open. After the injury it took me a long time to regain my confidence, but I'm on the right track again."
Clijsters leads the overall series against Henin, 13-12 (including matches on the WTA as well as on the ITF Women's Circuit - exhibitions not included).
"This was what I needed in preparation for the new season," Wickmayer said. "Now I know where I am and what I still need to work on."