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Tuesday June 29, 2010

Clijsters triumphs in battle of Belgians, Wozniacki crashes out

IT took a while but the real Kim Clijsters finally showed up on Court One at Wimbledon to topple fellow Belgian Justine Henin 2-6, 6-2, 6-3 in the fourth round yesterday.

Neither of the Belgians, whose rivalry goes back almost 20 years, have won the grasscourt Grand Slam and after a dreadful start, it looked as though Clijsters would be the player left disappointed.

“I was out there somewhere, but I’m not quite sure where,“ Clijsters said.

“I was just very overwhelmed in the beginning by the speed of her game. She was definitely overpowering me on every aspect of the match.”

The eighth-seeded Clijsters struggled with her serve and length throughout the first set.

Tough shot: Third seed Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark stretching to make a backhand return during her match against Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic. Wozniacki lost 2-6, 0-6. – AP

Henin’s only scare in the first set was when the seven-time Grand Slam winner fell and hurt her right elbow.

“I really don’t know what happened. I thought it was the tendon. We’re not quite sure, so I’ll have to wait probably a day or two... But it’s quite painful now,” said Henin, who added that it had bothered her on her serve and backhand.

Clijsters finally found her form and length in the second set.

“I started to really feel more comfortable. I took some risks but I felt I was seeing the ball better, just hitting the ball cleaner,” said the US Open champion.

The third set went with serve until the eighth game, when Clijsters hit shots that sent Henin scampering back and forth across the baking court.

The 17th seed finally sent a forehand long to go 5-3 down and leave Clijsters serving for the match, which she took in just under an hour-and-a-half.

Clijsters will face 21st seed Vera Zvonareva for a place in the semi–finals.

Meanwhile, third seed Caroline Wozniacki was sensationally knocked out in the fourth round by unseeded Czech Petra Kvitova in the biggest shock of the tournament so far.

Wozniacki, aiming to reach the quarter–finals at the All England Club for the first time, put up meek resistance in going down 6-2, 6-0 in just 46 minutes. The 62nd ranked Kvitova will now take on Kaia Kanepi in the quarter–finals. – Agencies

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