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Henin and Clijsters to meet in last 16 at Wimbledon

Clijsters powers a forehand during straight sets win over Kirilenko at Wimbledon.
Clijsters powers a forehand during straight sets win over Kirilenko at Wimbledon.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters to meet in fourth round at Wimbledon
  • Henin beats Nadria Petrova 6-1 6-4 and Clijsters sees off Maria Kirilenko 6-3 6-3
  • Fourth seed Jelena Jankovic beats Ukraine's Alona Bondarenko 6-0 6-3
  • Second seed Venus Williams eases past Alisa Kleybanova 6-4 6-2

(CNN) -- Belgian stars Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters set up a mouthwatering clash with straight sets victories over seeded players from Russia in their third round matches at Wimbledon on Friday.

Clijsters, the eighth seed, was the first through after seeing off 27th seed Maria Kirilenko on Court Two, 6-3 6-3.

The reigning U.S. Open champion was beaten by Henin in the semifinals of her last appearance at Wimbledon in 2006.

She knows that her arch-rival will offer tough opposition again.

"Against someone like Justine... you have to bring your best if you want to have a chance to win," she told AFP.

But Clijsters has had the upper hand since Henin made her comeback to tennis at the start of the year, securing two victories against her in WTA tournaments.

"We've had some really tough matches so far this year and some really good and fun matches," Clijsters added.

Of course on the court we both want to win, but the relationship is very good
--Justine Henin
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Henin, the 17th seed, later made her first appearance back on Centre Court since coming out of retirement. She last contested Wimbledon in 2007.

The seven-time grand slam winner was mightily impressive in beating 12th seed Nadia Petrova 6-1 6-4.

Petrova, who thrashed Clijsters in the Australian Open earlier this year, had no answer to a superb display by Henin, who is seeking her first title at the All England Club.

She has met Clijsters on 24 previous occasions with the record at 12 wins each to illustrate the closeness of their rivalry.

She said that their relationship had also improved over the years.

"We can feel we grew up a lot; Kim, of course, having a baby, and the retirement I also took for two years.

"We had a fantastic time in the Fed Cup tie together. We're more adult now and we have a lot of respect.

"Of course on the court we both want to win, but the relationship is very good."

In other women's singles action, second seed Venus Williams had little trouble in beating Alisa Kleybanova of Russia 6-4 6-2 to remain on course for a final clash with her sister and top seed Serena.

Fourth seed Jelena Jankovic beat Ukraine's 28th-seeded Alona Bondarenko 6-0 6-3, shrugging off a leg injury which required strapping in the second set.