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Team WTAworld, Administrator, aka Nibbler
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For the third Grand Slam of the last four, a Belgian player will advance to the semifinals. A country that is known for their waffles and chocolate may now best be regarded for their teenaged tennis sensations.

Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin face each other in a Tour event for the fifth time in their professional career (Clijsters currently leads 3-1), with a berth in the Australian Open semifinals on the line. This is the fourth occasion in which the two have met in the quarterfinals or later in a tournament, and the first Grand Slam meeting since the 2001 French Open semifinal in which Clijsters prevailed 2-6, 7-5, 6-3, after trailing 6-2, 4-2.

"For sure everybody will talk to me about this match…and for sure it's always a little bit special for everybody," Henin said following her fourth round victory over Elena Dementieva. "It's good there will be a Belgian player in the semifinals again, so that's good also for the country."

Good for a country that has seen its two top tennis stars achieve outstanding success on the Sanex WTA Tour on nearly the same time frame. The coincidences are uncanny as they both won their first Tour titles in 1999 and stretched top seeds to the limit at Grand Slam events. Henin pushed Lindsay Davenport to the limit in the second round of Roland Garros, falling 7-5 in the third. Meanwhile, Clijsters put a serious scare into Serena Williams, before the eventual champion slithered away with a 7-5 third set victory.

In 2001, Clijsters and Henin left a major impact on the tennis world by reaching back-to-back finals at the French Open and Wimbledon. In Belgium alone, 80% of the television viewing market tuned in to watch Clijsters' performance as the first Belgian playing in a Grand Slam final. Following Roland Garros, the duo debuted in the Top 10 rankings and has been there since. Kim has held the world No. 5 spot for nearly six months, while Justine reached No. 5 in July following her Wimbledon final and could reach as high as No. 6 depending on her outcome this week.

Whilst Clijsters and Henin rivalry heats up, the two maintain a friendship off the court and shared the joy of Belgium's first ever Fed Cup title last fall. However, when the first ball is served, it's down to business.

"I'm looking forward to playing against her, and it's also a little bit harder to play a girl from your country, and I grew up with her and traveled with her," said Clijsters. "But…once I'm on the court I'm not going to focus on who is standing in front of me. I'm just going to focus on my game and then we'll see."

"I think we are friends on Tour for sure," Henin said. "But we are also two different players, and we want this victory. So, for sure, we are friends out of the court, but when I have to play against her…I want to win."

Regardless of the outcome, the people of Belgium have much to proud of as tennis' newest rivalry again takes center court.

"I'm happy I'm far away, because I can imagine it's going to be pretty hectic again over there. I mean Belgian tennis - we have had Dominique (Van Roost) and Sabine (Appelmans), but they hardly ever played each other," Clijsters said. "So I think it's new for them as well. For us, it's getting a little bit of a habit.

"But it's nice, and I hope they enjoy it all. I mean it's an historic event."
 
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