This morning's Brisbane International final between Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin at the Brisbane International event will act as an indicator as to which Belgian is more likely to break the Williams sisters' stranglehold on women's tennis over the next 12 months. With only nine days until the Australian Open, the year's first grand slam, the Belgian comeback queens' respective returns to form have brought a refreshing dimension to the predictable state of women's tennis.
Despite playing her first tournament in 20 months after coming out of retirement, Henin crushed Serbia's Ana Ivanovic 6-3, 6-2 to reach the final first. Then Clijsters, who won last year's US Open in her own fairy tale comeback, demolished Germany's Andrea Petkovic 6-4, 6-2 to set up an intriguing all-Belgian affair. While the question of whether either player can topple Venus or Serena in this season's majors is likely to dominate the women's game in coming months, Henin, who holds a 12-10 advantage over Clijsters in the pair's 22 times previous meetings, chose to reminisce not predict on the eve of today's final.
"It is always special to play Kim," Henin said. "I don't think anyone around the world expected to see this again and it's going to be a good match, a challenge, a tough match. "We grew up playing Under 12s and sharing rooms together; we have history together. Now it's back to the old days." Andy Murray has said the Hopman Cup final against Spain as a springboard for his own Australian Open campaign. "If I can play like I have done this week then I can win Australia for sure," said the Briton, ahead of the mixed teams tennis event final.