I've been on vacation the past 4-5 days, and I come back to see threads about all the negative threads about Kim. Why?? What happened? All I can think of is her comments about Henin's injuries, but Kim is hardly the first person to point that out. What gives?
Henin-Hardenne is better Belgian after dropping first set
Posted: Sunday August 03, 2003 7:50 PM
CARLSBAD, Calif. (AP) -- With the Williams sisters out with injuries, maybe women's tennis can turn to the feuding Belgians.
After being dominated in the first set, third-seeded Justine Henin-Hardenne came back for a 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 victory over No. 2 seed Kim Clijsters on Sunday in the Acura Classic title match, a rematch of the French Open final.
But the pair differed over whether Henin-Hardenne needed the injury timeout she called at the end of the first set to have a WTA trainer retape a blister on her right foot.
Clijsters clearly implied that Henin-Hardenne used the five-minute timeout to recover from a poor first set. She also said it helped Henin-Hardenne rebound in the second set.
"It's not the first time that it's happened," an irritated Clijsters said. "She's probably done it in every match I've played against her. Those are moments that you know she is not feeling at her best. She has to try to do different things.
"It's to her credit that she can do it like that and turn matches around."
The tournament field was depleted by the withdrawal of top-ranked Serena Williams and Jennifer Capriati because of injuries.
Henin-Hardenne, who tied Clijsters for the tour lead with her fifth title of the season, bristled at the idea that she was using gamesmanship.
"She can think whatever she wants," Henin-Hardenne said. "I had to change my tape. It was burning. It's very easy to talk about that."
Henin-Hardenne, 3-3 against Clijsters this year, beat Clijsters 6-0, 6-4 in the French Open final to become the first woman from Belgium to win a Grand Slam singles title.
Henin-Hardenne, ranked third in the world, was bothered all week by a blister on the bottom of her right foot. In a three-set win against Elena Dementieva on Thursday, Henin-Hardenne also used an injury timeout to have the blister retaped after losing the first set.
"When you are not in this situation, you cannot understand what it is to play with blisters," Henin-Hardenne said.
The momentum of the match clearly turned at the start of the second set. Henin-Hardenne appeared to lift the level of her game, while Clijsters consistently missed her shots.
Henin-Hardenne won the first four games of the set and broke Clijsters' serve twice while losing just one point.
"She came out fresher and moving better," Clijsters said. "She was definitely returning a lot better, too. She started hitting some really good winners off the court."
Said Henin-Hardenne: "I could break her because I was returning so well. I was aggressive, especially on the forehand side."
The two Belgians slugged it out in the third set. The match turned on the only break of the set when Henin-Hardenne finally converted on her fourth break point of the eighth game to take a 5-3 lead.
Henin-Hardenne then won four straight points on her serve, including a forehand volley on match point to win $165,000. Clijsters earned $94,500.
"It's been an amazing week," Henin-Hardenne said. "I'm so happy to win a tournament like this on hard court."
Henin-Hardenne has had little success against Clijsters on hard-court surfaces, losing four of five matches. But she showed she can play well on other surfaces besides clay.
"She's become a lot better [on hard courts], a lot stronger," Clijsters said. "That's where she was struggling a lot. She gets a lot more aggressive."
Henin-Hardenne improved her career record against Clijsters to 7-8.
Clijsters, who won the Bank of the West Classic last week, finished with 48 unforced errors and only 15 winners.
Clijsters dropped to 5-5 in title matches this season, while Henin-Hardenne has won five of six, adding her 11th career title.
Clijsters and Ai Sugiyama, the No. 2 seed, defeated the third-seeded team of Lindsay Davenport and Lisa Raymond in the doubles finals 6-4, 7-5.
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