16 Sep 2009

Belgian media laud Clijsters' US Open victory

7:26 am on 16 September 2009

Belgium has hailed Kim Clijsters's comeback US Open victory and praised the player for ending the nation's barren sporting run.

Prime Minister Herman Van Rompuy congratulated Clijsters for her "spectacular victory" and also paid tribute to little-known Belgian Yanina Wickmayer, who reached the semi-finals.

Clijsters beat Dane Caroline Wozniacki 7-5 6-3 in the final in New York.

Belgium thought it had said goodbye to her as a tennis player two years ago when she retired to marry and give birth to a daughter.

The seven-time Grand Slam winner Justine Henin followed her into retirement last year, as did Olympic high jump champion Tia Hellebaut and European 100 metres champion Kim Gevaert.

The Belgian footballers saw already thin hopes of qualifying for tthe World Cup crumble last week with a humiliating loss to Armenia, and the former world champion cyclist Tom Boonen tested positive for cocaine in April and made little impact in this year's Tour de France.