Clijsters, Henin to meet in Sony semis
Advertiser News Services
Once roommates on grade-school tennis trips, Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin became Grand Slam champions, claimed the No. 1 ranking and played each other nearly two dozen times before calling it a career.
Now the friendly rivalry is out of retirement, and the two Belgians will meet once more tonight in the semifinals of the Sony Ericsson Open at Key Biscayne, Fla.
"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 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 overtaking No. 2-seeded Caroline Wozniacki yesterday, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-4.
Clijsters retired, married and became a mother before returning to the tour last August. She advanced by beating No. 9 Samantha Stosur, 6-3, 7-5.
Three-time champion Venus Williams will play No. 13-seeded Marion Bartoli in the other semifinal.
HAMLIN HAS SURGERY
NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin is home in Virginia resting following surgery on his left knee.
Dr. Patrick Connor repaired the anterior cruciate ligament in Hamlin's left knee yesterday morning. Hamlin tore his ACL playing basketball in January.
He wanted to postpone surgery until after the NASCAR season, but decided to have it repaired this week. The surgery had been postponed from Monday, the same day Hamlin won his first race of the season at Martinsville Speedway.
Joe Gibbs Racing says Hamlin will drive as scheduled in the April 10 race at Phoenix, but Casey Mears will be on standby as a relief driver. The Sprint Cup Series is off this weekend.
U.S. WOMEN WIN, 1-0
Seeing the field covered in snow before the United States played Mexico, Abby Wambach had an idea.
"We were walking out before the game started and I said, 'If anybody scores, snow angels for sure,' " Wambach said.
She wound up setting off the celebration herself, scoring her 105th international goal in the 60th minute to help the United States to a 1-0 exhibition victory last night at Sandy, Utah.
"Abby's goal was great," U.S. coach Pia Sundhage said. "I thought she was the best player on the field."
TRACK AND FIELD
Caster Semenya's lawyer has criticized a decision to refuse the runner a spot at a meet in Stellenbosch, near Cape Town.
"The denial made by those to allow Caster to compete in last night's athletics meet in Stellenbosch was improper." Greg Nott, managing partner of Johannesburg law firm Dewey and LeBoeuf, said in a statement yesterday.
Organizers refused Semenya, 19, permission to compete at Stellenbosch on Tuesday, saying she is an ineligible athlete because she is under medical advice from the sport's governing body the IAAF.