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By Erik Gudris

(October 16, 2012) -- She may not be as well-known as her former Fed Cup teammates Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin, but Belgium's Kirsten Flipkens is starting to make a name for herself with a late season surge in 2012.

1. Belgium Roots: Flipkens was born in Geel, Belgium on January 10th, 1986. Her official residence is now Mol, Belgium.

2. Early Years: Flipkens began playing tennis at age four and soon became a top junior in Belgium and then in the world. In 2001, Flipkens competed in her first ITF event in Belgium.

3. Junior Slam Champion: In 2003, Flipkens won both the Wimbledon girls title over Anna Chakvetadze and the U.S. Open girls title against Michaella Krajicek. She also finished the year as the world's No. 1 junior, a first time feat for a Belgian player.

4. Grand Slam Debut: Flipkens competed for the first time in the main draw of a Major at the 2006 French Open where she reached the second round. She also got to the second round of the U.S. Open in the same year, losing to eventual semifinalist Jelena Jankovic.

5. Fed Cup Disappointment: Also in 2006, Flipkens took part in the Fed Cup final between Belgium and Italy. She played in and lost both of the final singles and doubles rubbers giving Italy a 3-2 victory.

6. Injuries and Setbacks: Despite her early success as a junior, Flipkens has dealt with several setbacks due to injuries including a wrist ailment in 2007 and a knee issue in 2009. Despite being close to the top 50 in 2009, Flipkens had up and down results the next two years and finished 2011 ranked No. 196 in the world.

7. Best Year Ever: Though she mainly played Challengers for the majority of this season, Flipkens did reach the semis of Den Bosch back in June where she beat Sam Stosur for her first ever top ten win before losing to eventual champion Nadia Petrova. Flipkens won her maiden WTA tour title at Quebec City in September defeating No. 1 seed Dominika Cibulkova in the first round and then later Lucie Hradecka in the finals.

8. Career High Ranking: Having reached the semis of Linz last week, Flipkens achieved a career high ranking of No. 58 and is now the the No. 2 Belgian player behind Yanina Wickmayer.

9: Fun Fact: Flipkens's nickname is Flipper.

10. Life Away From Tennis: When not competing, Flipkens enjoys movies, the internet, and hanging out with friends. She can be followed on Twitter @FlipperKF.


(Photo Credit: Pascal Ratthe)

 

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