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Tennis-Clijsters opts out of Fed Cup showdown with US
( 2003-10-08 10:28) (Agencies)

Belgium will face an uphill task to progress beyond the semi-finals of the Fed Cup after world number one Kim Clijsters joined compatriot Justine Henin-Hardenne in opting out of next month's tie in Moscow.
 French and US Open champion Henin pulled out of the event last month citing a back injury, while Clijsters had previously hinted that she may withdraw after the final was awarded to Moscow by the International Tennis Federation.
 Belgium team captain Ivo Van Aken instead selected a second-string squad, spearheaded by the 84th-ranked Els Callens, on Tuesday.
 She will be joined for the event, starting on November 17, by Caroline Maes (ranked 243rd), Clijsters's younger sister Elke (397th), Evelyn Van Hyfte (420th) and Kirsten Flipkens (611th).
 Russia play France in the other semi-final with the final taking place later that week.
 Flipkens won the French and US Open junior singles title this year.
 Clijsters and Henin led Belgium to their first triumph in the women's team competition in 2001 but the nation were knocked out in the quarter-finals in 2002 after both players skipped the tie.

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