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Page last updated at 13:34 GMT, Wednesday, 23 June 2010 14:34 UK

Wimbledon 2010: Henin and Clijsters on course to meet

Wimbledon Championships
Venue: All England Club, London Date: 21 June - 4 July
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Justine Henin

Henin outsmarts Barrois with lob-volley

By Caroline Cheese
BBC Sport at Wimbledon

Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters moved a step closer to a last-16 meeting at Wimbledon after both won their second-round matches on Wednesday.

US Open champion Clijsters eased past Karolina Sprem 6-3 6-2 on Court One.

Fellow Belgian Henin saw off the challenge of Germany's Kristina Barrois 6-3 7-5, but did not have it all her own way on Court Two.

The 17th seed was pegged back from 5-1 to 5-5 in the second set before recovering her poise.

Both Henin and Clijsters have highlighted their lack of a Wimbledon title as motivation for ending their retirement.

It remains a dream for me, I just see myself as an outsider

Justine Henin on her title chances

Clijsters, 27, began playing again in August last year and won the US Open for a second time in only her third tournament.

Henin, a year older at 28, returned at the start of this season and reached the Australian Open final in her second event.

However, since then, her form has been patchy and a seeding of 17 here at Wimbledon left her vulnerable to facing an early challenge.

Barrois provided a brief test with her second-set comeback, but 12th seed Nadia Petrova, who beat Yung-Jan Chan, will be expected to put up more stubborn resistance.

In any case, Henin, twice a beaten finalist at the All England Club, believes this Wimbledon has come too soon in her comeback for her to be a title challenger.

The score was a lot easier than it was to play. I had to work extremely hard but I was consistent and that was the most important thing

Kim Clijsters

"It remains a dream for me, I just see myself as an outsider," she said.

"It's been a year with ups and downs, I don't know how I'm going to deal with a very high level. I hope Wimbledon will be a goal for me one day."

Nonetheless, she insists she is enjoying her experience, which contrasts with her previous trips to Wimbledon.

"I see it differently now, I've opened my eyes," said the seven-time Grand Slam champion.

"Usually I've done well at French [before coming to Wimbledon] and I've come here with a lot of pressure, as world number one. Now it's different.

"The courts are beautiful, the atmosphere is fantastic, you feel the passion for the game."

606: DEBATE
ShotterRacket

Clijsters, who beat Henin in three sets in Miami and Brisbane this year, must beat Maria Kirilenko before she can consider a 25th meeting with her Belgian rival.

But the Russian should not worry the eighth seed, whose baseline game looked in fine form as she saw off the hard-hitting but limited Sprem.

"The score was a lot easier than it was to play," said Clijsters. "I had to work extremely hard but I was consistent and that was the most important thing.

"To win Wimbledon would be a dream come true. It was such a pleasure to be part of the event here last year when they opened the roof.

"It was tempting last year when they offered me a wildcard but I just wasn't quite ready."

If the duo do meet in the last 16, it will not be the first all-Belgian battle at this year's Wimbledon.

Yanina Wickmayer, the 15th seed, beat compatriot Kirsten Flipkens 7-6 (11-9) 6-4 in a later match on Wednesday.



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see also
Wimbledon day three as it happened
23 Jun 10 |  Tennis
The World Cup gatecrashes Wimbledon
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LTA spoils youngsters - Clijsters
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Venus eases by Makarova challenge
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Federer edges past bold Bozoljac
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Djokovic and Roddick both advance
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Wimbledon 2010 - day three photos
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Women's singles results
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Women's singles draw
28 Jan 10 |  Tennis
Tennis on the BBC
26 Oct 11 |  Tennis


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