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Team WTAworld, Administrator, aka Nibbler
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By Richard Pagliaro - They are separated by two places in the rankings, but Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters were two of a kind today. Henin and Clijsters both registered straight-set wins to lead Fed Cup favorite Belgium to an opening-round Group B victory over Germany at the Fed Cup finals in Madrid, Spain today.

After dropping the first two games, Henin regained her rhythm and rolled, winning 12 of the final 14 games to earn a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Martina Mueller in the first match. Clijsters clinched the win over Belgium, beating Bianka Lamada by the identical 6-3, 6-1 score. A French Open finalist, Clijsters looked comfortable on the indoor red clay court in Madrid and is enjoying the camaraderie with Henin.

"Justine and myself have had such a good year and it would be great to finish off by winning here," said Clijsters. "We have to play against each other week in, week out, and it's great to be here as part of a team."We go out to dinner, play cards in the dressing room. There's a good atmosphere. It's good to be competing for Belgium."

Two-time defending champion the United States withdrew from the event citing concerns over security and safety in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on America. With the U.S. out of the event, Belgium — behind the fifth-ranked Clijsters and seventh-ranked Henin — and France — featuring Amelie Mauresmo, Sandrine Testud and Nathalie Tauziat — are the favorites to win Fed Cup.

"We're not feeling any pressure because we know we have a good team," Henin said. "It's very nice to be playing together here at the end of the year. We're on our own on the tour all year and it's nice to be part of a team here."

The eight-team Fed Cup finals feature a round-robin format with the winner of Group A playing the Group B winner in Sunday's final. In today's other matches, Russia meets the Czech Republic in group A and Spain hosts Australia in group B.
 
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