Henin v. Clijsters – Winning Matches vs. Winning Hearts.

With her 6-4, 6-2 semifinal win over Andrea Petkovic at the Brisbane International, Kim Clijsters set up another finals clash with Justine Henin.

This is the first meeting between the two after their last encounter at Wimbledon in 2006 which Henin won. Henin is still 12-10 lifetime against her fellow Belgian.

Henin has cited Clijsters’ stunning comeback and U.S. Open win as one of the inspirations behind her own return. Clijsters is slightly favored in the match as Henin’s form this week has been shaky at times.

Despite their less then friendly rivalry in the past, mostly due to Henin’s cool persona in her “first career” as she calls it, both women expressed excitement at playing each other tomorrow.

Even if Henin loses, how she projects herself to the public and media now and during the Australian Open will be just as important as her win/lose ratio. Henin certainly earned respect on tour for her many titles, but Clijsters earned more genuine admiration just for her good natured personality.

As with other players in the past, it’s usually those who embrace their public role that end up being more admired as time goes on. If Henin wants that legacy, she will have to work at it just as much as she does with her famous one-handed backhand.

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