Clijsters-Henin to clash in final at Brisbane

Brisbane, Jan 8 : Comeback Belgian queens Kim Clijstres and Justine Henin will fight it out in Saturday's women's final at the Brisbane International tennis.

Clijsters set the pace last summer after returning from retirement and winning the US Open title in her third event back. The tournament top seed continued her march in Brisbane, defeating German Andrea Petkovic 6-4, 6-2 in their semi-final.

Seven-times Grand Slam champion Henin is playing for the first time in 20 months since quitting with burnout and stands a win away from duplicating a career-return title effort at an even faster pace than her compatriot.

Since competing on the elite WTA level, the pair stand a dead-level 10 wins each, with their last meeting resulting in a Henin victory in a Wimbledon semi-final four years ago. Henin won two low-level matches earlier in their careers.

"I'll be playing a final, and it's always special to play Kim," Henin said. "It's always a good match, a tough match."

The unseeded Henin beat Serbia's Ana Ivanovic 6-3, 6-2 in a semi-final battle between former number ones and French Open champions.

Henin scored her fifth win without a defeat over Ivanovic, who is trying to move up from her 22nd ranking after a fall through the ranks in 2009.

Henin spent a mere 65 minutes in advancing. "I had good rhythm and I was consistent. I didn't know what to expect with ups and downs this week," she said. "It's my first tournament back in 18 months. It is a nice feeling."

On the men's side, top seed Andy Roddick was facing a quarter-final with Richard Gasquet. The winner will face Czech fourth seed Tomas Berdych, who defeated Brazil's Thomaz Bellucci 7-6(4), 2-6, 7-6(3). (DPA)


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