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Belgian stars Henin and Clijsters breeze into third round

Henin powers a forehand during her straight sets victory at Wimbledon on Wednesday.
Henin powers a forehand during her straight sets victory at Wimbledon on Wednesday.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Belgian stars Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin through to Wimbledon third round
  • Henin beats Kristina Barrois and Clijsters sees off Karolina Sprem
  • Second seed Venus Williams also eases into last 32 in straight sets

(CNN) -- Belgian favorites Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters battled into the third round of the women's singles at Wimbledon with straight sets victories on Wednesday.

Henin, coming out of retirement at the start of the year, is playing at the All England Club for the first time since 2007. She has twice been a beaten finalist.

The 17th seed was made to fight, particularly in the second set, before beating Germany's Kristina Barrois 6-3 7-5 on Court Two to set up a third-round tie with either Russian 12th seed Nadia Petrova or Taiwan's Chan Yung-Jan.

Despite her win, the former world number one is not confident about her chances of winning Wimbledon for the first time.

"You really need to get used to this routine again. To play one day, to have a day off, then to play again, it's not that easy to deal with," she said.

"I just see myself as an outsider this year because it's still a year with ups and downs. I don't know how I'm going to deal at very high level. So it's very hard to predict what could happen.

I really don't see myself as one of the favorites. I hope Wimbledon will be a goal for me one day. It's a dream at the moment
--Justine Henin
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"But I really don't see myself as one of the favorites. I hope Wimbledon will be a goal for me one day. It's a dream at the moment."

Meanwhile her arch-rival and eighth seed Clijsters beat Croatia's Karolina Sprem 6-3 6-2 on Court One.

Clijsters herself is making her first appearance at Wimbledon in four years after her retirement.

The U.S. Open champion now faces either Russia's Maria Kirilenko, the 27th seed, or America's Shenay Perry.

Venus Williams, the five-time Wimbledon champion and the second seed, joined them in the last 32 with a straight sets win over Ekaterina Markova of Russia later Wednesday.

Williams won 6-0 6-4 against the world number 67, who had shown her grass court quality by winning at Eastbourne last week. Makarova broke the American in the second set but it was too little, too late.

French 11th seed Marion Bartoli, who lost to Venus Williams in the 2007 Wimbledon final, was the player into the third round after her Croatian opponent Petra Martic pulled out.

Bartoli faces Greta Arn in the third round, after the Hungarian qualifier put out former world number eight Alicia Molik.

Israel's 13th seed Shahar Peer also went down in three sets to Germany's Angelique Kerber.