Henin-Hardenne will be back: Clijsters - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Henin-Hardenne will be back: Clijsters

By David Beniuk 11/01/2007 07:52:09 PM Comments (0)

World No.1 Justine Henin-Hardenne will return to tennis stronger than ever from the personal problems which have ruled her out of the Australian Open, fellow Belgian Kim Clijsters said.

Last year's runner-up at the Open, Henin-Hardenne pulled out of the season's first grand slam event citing personal issues, which have been reported as troubles in her marriage to Pierre-Yves Hardenne.

Clijsters said she had been in touch with her compatriot and was confident she'd be back.

"I've been writing some messages with her over the phone, but that's about all," Clijsters said.

"We keep that between us and we talk to each other.

"She's going through a tough time, but I hope she gets through that well and comes out stronger."

Asked if she expected to see Henin-Hardenne back, Clijsters said: "Yeah. I mean she's a tough girl and I'm sure that she's going to be back stronger than ever."

On a scorcher at Sydney Olympic Park during which the 40-degrees-on-court mark allowed several heat breaks, the world No.5 survived a stern test from China's Na Li to post a 6-1 1-6 7-5 win in the first semi-final of the Sydney International.

But it's Serb Jelena Jankovic who continues to win fans with her sheer guts.

Bucking the trend of eight tournament withdrawals, and with her left thigh already bandaged at the start of play, Jankovic survived two courtside treatment sessions for an injured back to take the other spot in Friday's final over Czech eighth seed Nicole Vaidisova 6-4 4-6 6-4.

Asked why she didn't follow suit and throw in the towel, the world No.12 said: "Because I'm this kind of player. I don't like to give up.

"It doesn't matter which tournament we are at.

"I try always to give my best and to fight until the end."

The 21-year-old said she hoped her body would hold up for Friday's final - in which she will try to win her second straight title and third overall.

"I will have so many treatments, with my feet, with my back with my groin.

"I have so many things that are really hurting me at the moment."

Her victory set up a clash between the two tournament stand-outs but the Belgian holds a 5-0 advantage in the pair's previous meetings.

Jankovic said that statistic didn't concern her.

"I've never beaten Mauresmo before, but I gave her revenge (yesterday)," she laughed.

Jankovic is likely to jump to a No.10 ranking if she wins the title - something she was more than mindful of on Thursday.

"What is my ranking now?" she asked journalists at her press conference.

"If I win the whole tournament, and now?

"Who is 11 because Vaidisova is defending points here, but she didn't get any points.

"But Safina, how many has she?"

Clijsters said Jankovic should be feeling confident after her ninth straight win.

"I feel like every match that I've played against her she's become better," Clijsters said.

"She looks more confident out there."

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