Toronto, Canada – SYDNEY (Reuters) - Kim Clijsters survived two match points before winning her eagerly awaited rematch with fellow Belgian Justine Henin 6-3 4-6 7-6 in the final of the Brisbane International on Saturday.
The pair, who have been rivals since they were 12 years old and are both in the early stages of comebacks, slugged it out for almost 2-1/2 half hours in a wildy fluctuating match at the Pat Rafter Arena.
At different times, both players looked to have the match at their mercy but it took a final set tiebreak to split them after a tantalizing warm-up to this month's Australian Open.
"What a match!" said Clijsters. "I think we set the bar pretty high for ourselves for the rest of the year.
"Justine played at a really high level for the whole tournament, so congratulations."
Clijsters, who capped a fairytale comeback last year by winning the U.S. Open for a second time, seemed to be cruising when she won the opening set and grabbed an early break in the second as Henin struggled with her serve, committing 11 double faults in the contest.
"It's just great to be back," said Henin. "I want to congratulate Kim, she's a great player and it was an amazing final."
(Reporting by Julian Linden; Editing by John Mehaffey)