Clijsters tips Hardenne to power Fed Cup
World number three Kim Clijsters believes French Open champion Justine-Henin Hardenne can power Belgium to victory over Italy.india Updated: Sep 13, 2006 11:44 IST
World number three Kim Clijsters believes French Open champion Justine-Henin Hardenne can power Belgium to victory over Italy in the Fed Cup final this weekend.
Clijsters played in both of Belgium's games leading to the final which starts in Charleroi on Saturday. However, she has been ruled out for two months after a recurrence of a wrist injury.
The 23-year-old said Henin-Hardenne, who was beaten in the US Open final last Saturday, can still lead Belgium to their second Fed Cup title. The two teamed up in 2001 to see off the challenge of Russia in the final in Spain.
"I believe she (Henin-Hardenne) will have too much power," Clijsters said on her website.
"I think returning after successful weeks in the United States to play in front of her home crowd will spur her on and will be the advantage."
Clijsters combined with Henin-Hardenne in the first round to beat defending champions Russia, before pairing up with Kirsten Flipkens to beat the US in the semi-finals after Henin-Hardenne withdrew through exhaustion.
Flipkens, 20 and ranked 98th in the world, will partner Henin-Hardenne this weekend.
"Kirsten can beat anyone on her day, especially in the big game," Clijsters said.
Italy, who beat France and Spain along the way, are playing in their first Fed Cup final.
Clijsters hoped to return for the Gaz de France Stars in Hasselt which starts on October 30.
"After a new scan and analysis of the wrist everything seems to be going according to plan," she said.
"This means that I should be able to start wrist exercises in about five weeks and start training again the week after that, so I should be able to play the Hasselt tournament.