The mirroring arc of Clijsters and Henin-Hardenne's careers continues...
1999: Justine wins her first event and then challenges Lindsay at the French. A few weeks later, Clijsters reaches the fourth round of Wimbledon as a qualifier.
2000: Justine and Kim rise up the rankings, with Kim moving up a bit faster. Both play well at the US Open before losing to Davenport.
2001: Justine wins two tournaments to open the year and reaches the fourth round of the Australian while Clijsters lags slightly behind. They have a breakthrough by reaching the semis of the French, where Clijsters wins. However, Justine avenges the loss a few weeks later and reaches the Wimbledon final. At the US Open, each loses to a Williams sister and each ends the year in the top ten.
2002: Neither of them plays quite as well as in 2001 for most of the year, although Clijsters reaches the Aussie semis (beating Justine along the way) and Justine wins Berlin (beating Serena in the final) and reaches the Wimbledon semis. Both lose early at the French and on the same day in the round of 16 at the US Open in tough three setters. Both have strong indoor seasons with Clijsters beating Justine en route to the season ending championships.
2003: Both lose in the AO to a Williams sister. Clijsters wins Indian Wells and then both dominate the clay court season, with Justine winning 2 titles and Kim winning 1 and losing to Justine in the final of another. At the French, it is no surprise when the meet in the finals, with Justine winning. At Wimbledon, both lose to a Williams again and they dominate the US hardcourt season and play in the US Open final. Both become #1, and at the end of the year Clijsters wins the YEC for the second straight year while Justine clinches the year-end #1 ranking.
2004: Both start well, playing in the AO final and winning a few other titles. However, the intensive training they did begins to show and both come down with either a serious illness (Justine) or injury (Kim) that, despite attempted comebacks by each one later in the year, keeps them out for almost 1 year exactly.
2005: After missing the Australian Open, each makes a triumphant return, with Kim beating a good player en route to the quarters at her first event and winning a Tier I with wins over Davenport and Dementieva at the next, and then Justine reaches the quarters of her first event and wins a Tier I event with wins over Davenport and Dementieva at the second.
My conclusion? Kim and Justine are each other's best rivals, for better and worse. They motivate each other to become better, but almost destroy themselves in the process. Now that they are both back, this is definitely going to continue.
Last edited by Asmus; Apr 18th, 2005 at 03:14 AM.