Kim Clijsters has tried to play down her chances of a first Grand Slam triumph at Wimbledon but one of Russia's rising stars admits she would not be surprised to see the Belgian triumph.
Teenager Vera Douchevina, a former junior Wimbledon champion, was taken apart in a second-set slaughter by Clijsters in Saturday's final of the Hastings Direct International Women's Championship at Eastbourne.
But after the 7-5 6-0 defeat she said: "I've had a lot of bonus points here. I had to qualify and after seven wins to reach my first-ever final it has taken a special player to beat me.
"I think Kim has the game for Wimbledon now. She volleys well, she has a good slice and can serve. She is also very fast and looks fit."
Despite her tender years, Douchevina, 18, has the experience to know what she is talking about. Next week will be her third senior Wimbledon and last year she reached the third round.
On the way to winning the junior crown in 2002 she beat compatriot Maria Sharapova, the reigning senior champion.
She added another notable scalp to her collection by including world No 3 Amelie Mauresmo of France among her seven victims at Eastbourne and expects to move up into the world's top 40 herself when the latest lists are published today.
"I would like to get into the top ten and I think I could do well for myself," said Douchevina, one of 15 Russians currently ranked in the top 100, "but at the moment time is on my side."
Clijsters is vastly more experienced but only fours years older although a large chunk of her career has been lost to injury.
A wrist operation put a shadow over her career last year after she reached her fourth Grand Slam final in Australia. Knee and ankle problems have also troubled her since and Eastbourne was her first experience on grass since the 2002 Wimbledon semi-final when she lost to Serena Williams.
"The French this year was my first Grand Slam for 17 months," she said. "But I had to prepare for it right from nothing after I hurt my knee in Berlin.
"In the match against Lindsay Davenport in the fourth round I felt my game was nowhere. I was really disappointed. I just don't know what happened after I was 6-1 and 3-1 up against her.
"But when you have a defeat like that it can sometimes motivate you a great deal and I decided to get to Eastbourne as quickly as I could and start to get used to the grass.
"It has gone very well and I think my game is in better shape than at the start of the week. I know I have more work to do, though, and I'm not going to start shouting about it being 100 per cent right already. It is nowhere near that.
"The only thing you can do if you decide to come over early and get used to the surface is to go for your shots and try to come into the net more. That's what I did in the final and I was pleased with the way I volleyed. The courts were in good condition and I hope they are like that at Wimbledon."
Former world No 1 Clijsters is currently ranked 15th after her injury setbacks but she will still be a formidable opponent for British wildcard Katie O'Brien in the first round. She is on course to meet Davenport later in the competition.
O'Brien sat her school exams during Wimbledon last year. Now she is part of the £50,000 incentive which motor insurance firm Hastings Direct are offering any British women to reach the fourth round at the All England Club.
The same amount was on offer on the south coast for a British quarter-finalist but Elena Baltacha's disappointing if brave defeat in the first round by veteran Conchita Martinez ended all home interest.