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Updated: April 1, 2010 16:19 IST

Clijsters to face Henin in semifinals

AP
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Kim CLijsters of Belgium in action against Samantha Stosur of Australia. The Belgian overcame the Australian in straight sets. Photo: AP
AP Kim CLijsters of Belgium in action against Samantha Stosur of Australia. The Belgian overcame the Australian in straight sets. Photo: AP

Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin of Belgium will meet in the semifinals of the Sony Ericsson Open.

Henin is only four tournaments into her return from a 20-month retirement, yet there’s scant evidence of rust. She earned a berth in the semifinals by beating second seed Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark on Wednesday, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-4.

Clijsters followed her into the final four by beating the ninth seed Samantha Stosur of Australia 6-3, 7-5. Three-time champion Venus Williams will play Marion Bartoli of France in the other semifinal.

Once roommates on school tennis trips, Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin became Grand Slam champions. Both of them claimed the No. 1 ranking and played each other nearly two dozen times before calling it a career.

“It has always been special, and it will always be special,” Henin said. “Because Kim and I grew up together, we arrived on the tour almost at the same time, we played good at the same time, we retired at the same time and we came back at the same time.”

Henin leads her rivalry with Clijsters 12-11. They’ve met only once since 2006 — at Brisbane in January, which marked Henin’s return to the tour. Clijsters saved two match points and won.

“It’s always a special match between the two of us,” Henin said. “I hope we can give something good to the crowd.”

On the men’s side, American Andy Roddick advanced to the semifinals by beating Spaniard Nicolas Almagro 6-3, 6-3. Roddick committed only 10 unforced errors in 110 points, and he has yet to drop a set in four rounds.

“When you play a lot of matches and kind of play a high level, it feels like everything kind of slows down a little bit,” Roddick said. “Muscle memory takes over a little bit more. I think I’m at that stage right now. Unfortunately with tennis, you have to start over every day.”

Roddick, the 2004 champion, will play the winner of the match between Rafael Nadal and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France.

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