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Kim Clijsters plays Justine Henin-Hardenne and the big winner is already known "Game, Set and Match for Belgium," headlined the daily De Morgen on the eve of the match.
Belgian tennis players were next to unknown a dozen years ago, yet steadily, one generation after another climbed their way up in the ranking to achieve Saturday's feat, an assured first Belgian Grand Slam victory.
Nobody bats an eye when the United States produces champion after champion, but for a country of 10 million, having two of the world's top three players is rare.
"As a Belgian, it can only make you happy," IOC president Jacques Rogge told De Morgen. "It will be remembered as the greatest Belgian sporting performance ever," he said. Rogge will be in Olympic meetings on Saturday, but already insisted he'd be given a break to watch some of the match.
Just about all Belgian front pages colored a rusty red, with pictures of Kim and Justine celebrating their victory on the clay court of Paris. Editorialists extrapolated the mood on the nation.
"In our country, so often defeatist ...we can reach for the sky," wrote the daily Le Soir. "In our way modest, stubborn and tenacious we can achieve a great feat."
At a national level, the double of the Dutch-speaking Fleming Clijsters and the francophone Walloon Henin-Hardenne has brought the linguistically divided Belgians together as only sports can.
On Saturday, some Flemings will be rooting for Henin-Hardenne, a tiny overachiever amid the bulk and brawn of top women's tennis.
Francophones have long admired the power and happy-go-lucky attitude of Clijsters.
"Kim and I are both Belgians rather than Walloon and Fleming," said Henin-Hardenne. Apart from being good friends, they teamed up together to win the 2001 Federations Cup, another Belgian first.
No wonder the high and mighty are lining up for a centre-court seat. King Albert, Queen Paola and Crown Prince Philippe will make the 300 kilometre (185 miles) trip to Paris. They likely be joined by Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt, along with much of the government and opposition leaders.
Belgium hasn't been so excited by its sports stars since Eddy Merckx dominated cycling in the 1960s or the national soccer team reached the World Cup semifinals in 1986.
2-Kim Clijsters leads 4-Justine Henin-Hardenne 7-3
2001: Indian Wells (hard-outdoor), R32, Clijsters, 1-6, 6-4, 6-3; French Open (clay-outdoor), SF, Clijsters, 2-6, 7-5, 6-3; Den Bosch (grass-outdoor), F, Henin, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.
2002: Sydney (hard-outdoor), QF, Clijsters, 7-6 (8-6), 6-2; Australian Open (hard-outdoor), QF, Clijsters, 6-2, 6-3; Rome (clay-outdoor), SF, Henin, 7-5, 6-2; Tour Championship (hard-indoor), QF, Clijsters, 6-2, 6-1.
2003: Sydney (clay-outdoor), SF, Clijsters, 6-2, 6-3; Antwerp (carpet-indoor), SF, Clijsters, 6-2, 7-6 (7-3); Berlin (clay-outdoor), F, Henin-Hardenne, 6-4, 4-6, 7-5. AP
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