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Posts Tagged ‘Clijsters’

Clijsters and Kuznetsova march on in Melbourne

In Vietnam Sports on January 21, 2010 at 12:57 am








Kim Clijsters hits a return against Tamarine Tanasugarn of Thailand in their women’s singles second round match on day three of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 20 (AFP photo)

MELBOURNE, Jan 20, 2010 (AFP) – Kim Clijsters showed nerves of steel on Wednesday to come through a tough test and make the Australian Open third round alongside Svetlana Kuznetsova.


Other top names also showed their mettle, including Caroline Wozniacki, Vera Zvonareva, Victoria Azarenka and Li Na, who all made the second round as organisers cleared rain-delayed matches held over from Tuesday.


Clijsters only conceded four games against her first round oppenent but she was given a more thorough examination by Thai veteran Tamarine Tanasugarn.


The 26-year-old Belgian, who won the lead-up Brisbane International, eventually triumphed 6-3, 6-3, but it was harder than the score suggested for the 15th seed, now back full time after a break to start a family.


Her serve was broken in each set before she dug deep to dispose of the Thai, playing in her 51st Grand Slam.


Clijsters could meet fellow comeback queen Justine Henin in the quarter-finals, although Henin has a major hurdle to clear in fifth seed Elena Dementieva on Rod Laver Arena later Wednesday.


Unlike the high-profile Clijsters and Henin, Russian third seed Kuznetsova is flying under the radar and looked impressive in her 6-2, 6-2 defeat of countrywoman Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.


The French Open champion, whose best effort here has been the quarter-finals, said she had prepared well in the off-season and was ready to make an impact.


“I think I’ve done a good pre-season, I’ve worked hard and I’ve enjoyed it,” she said.


“I mean, I’m feeling good. I worked on new things.”


Fourth seed Wozniacki downed Canada’s Aleksandra Wozniak 6-4, 6-2 to get her campaign off to a winning start.


The Dane, who enjoyed a breakthrough year in 2009, winning three titles and finishing runner-up to Clijsters at the US Open, edged a tight first set but overpowered her opponent in the second.


“I had a tough opponent, so I was really happy to get through,” she said.


“I was feeling confident on the court and comfortable.”


“I’m really happy about the way things are going and I’ve been practising hard, so I’m really pleased about the way I’m playing.”


Belarussian seventh seed Victoria Azarenka blasted her way into the second round by crushing France’s Stephanie Cohen-Aloro 6-2, 6-0, while China’s 16th seed Li coasted past New Zealand’s Marina Erakovic in straight sets.


Ninth-seeded Russian Vera Zvonareva also pushed on deeper into the tournament, sending Slovakia’s Kristina Kucova packing 6-2, 6-0.


Maria Sharapova remains the highest profile casualty on the women’s side and her Russian conqueror Maria Kirilenko marched into the third round with a 6-3, 6-1 romp against Austria’s Yvonne Meusburger.


In the men’s draw, 11th seed Fernando Gonzalez was the first man into the third round with his 6-3, 6-4, 7-5 win over Turkey’s Marsel Ilhan.


Scot Andy Murray resumes his quest to become the first Briton to win a Grand Slam since Fred Perry in 1936 when he plays Frenchman Marc Gicquel later Wednesday.


Seventh seed Andy Roddick is also in action against Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci, while fourth seed Juan Martin Del Potro, the US Open champion, faces American James Blake.


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Nadal, Clijsters march on in Melbourne

In Vietnam Sports on January 20, 2010 at 10:43 am

MELBOURNE, Jan 20, 2010 (AFP) – Defending champion Rafael Nadal pounded his way into the Australian Open third round on Wednesday alongside Kim Clijsters who showed nerves of steel to come through a tough test.








Nadal of Spain hits a return against Peter Luczak of Australia in their men’s singles first round match on day one of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 18, 2010. AFP photo)

Other top names also showed their mettle including Andy Roddick and Svetlana Kuznetsova, while Caroline Wozniacki and Victoria Azarenka made the second round as rain-delayed matches held over from Tuesday were cleared.


Spanish second seed Nadal was in rip-roaring form as he smashed hapless Slovak Lukas Lacko 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 to stay on track for a potential quarter-final against Andy Murray, who plays later.


Clijsters found the going harder.


She only conceded four games against her first round oppenent but she was given a more thorough examination by Thai veteran Tamarine Tanasugarn.


The 26-year-old Belgian, who won the lead-up Brisbane International, eventually triumphed 6-3, 6-3, but it was harder than the score suggested for the 15th seed, now back full time after a break to start a family.


Her serve was broken in each set before she dug deep to dispose of the Thai, playing in her 51st Grand Slam.


“Physically, I feel good,” she said.


“I feel like I’m good enough on the day to beat my opponents. It’s not with my best tennis yet, but hopefully I can save that when it’s really necessary.”


Clijsters could meet fellow comeback queen Justine Henin in the quarter-finals, although Henin has a major hurdle to clear in fifth seed Elena Dementieva on Rod Laver Arena later Wednesday.


Unlike the high-profile Clijsters and Henin, Russian third seed Kuznetsova is flying under the radar and looked impressive in her 6-2, 6-2 defeat of countrywoman Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.


The French Open champion, whose best effort here has been the quarter-finals, said she had prepared well in the off-season and was ready to make an impact.


“I think I’ve done a good pre-season, I’ve worked hard and I’ve enjoyed it,” she said.


“I mean, I’m feeling good. I worked on new things.”


Fourth seed Wozniacki downed Canada’s Aleksandra Wozniak 6-4, 6-2 to get her campaign off to a winning start.


The Dane, who enjoyed a breakthrough year in 2009, winning three titles and finishing runner-up to Clijsters at the US Open, edged a tight first set but overpowered her opponent in the second.


“I had a tough opponent, so I was really happy to get through,” she said.


“I was feeling confident on the court and comfortable.”


“I’m really happy about the way things are going and I’ve been practising hard, so I’m really pleased about the way I’m playing.”


Belarussian seventh seed Victoria Azarenka blasted her way into the second round by crushing France’s Stephanie Cohen-Aloro 6-2, 6-0, while China’s 16th seed Li coasted past New Zealand’s Marina Erakovic in straight sets.


Ninth-seeded Russian Vera Zvonareva also pushed on deeper into the tournament, sending Slovakia’s Kristina Kucova packing 6-2, 6-0.


Maria Sharapova remains the highest profile casualty on the women’s side and her Russian conqueror Maria Kirilenko marched into the third round with a 6-3, 6-1 romp against Austria’s Yvonne Meusburger.


In the men’s draw, Roddick ranted at the umpire after completing a straight sets win over Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci.


The American seventh seed had just served out a 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 win when he continued to argue over a Hawk Eye video review decision which narrowly went against him on the first of his two match points.


Elsewhere, 11th seed Fernando Gonzalez was the first man into the third round with his 6-3, 6-4, 7-5 win over Turkey’s Marsel Ilhan.


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Serena on top but Henin, Clijsters Open threat

In Vietnam Sports on January 13, 2010 at 8:34 am

MELBOURNE, Jan 13, 2010 (AFP) – Defending champion Serena Williams heads into the Australian Open as firm favourite but the return of Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters adds an enticing twist to the opening Grand Slam of the season.








This file photo taken on January 31, 2009 shows Serena Wiliams of the US celebrating with the trophy after defeating Dinara Safina of Russia in their singles final match on day 13 of the Australian Open in Melbourne (AFP photo)

A dominant Williams crushed Dinara Safina in the final last year and went on to claim the Wimbledon title, improving her collection to 11 majors as she ended the season as world number one.


Opting to start her year at the Sydney International this week, the American insisted she didn’t feel any extra pressure with the Belgian pair coming out of retirement.


“I don’t think about it a lot. I’ve got a lot on my plate. Everyone assumes that I’m number one anyway,” she said.


“My main goals are always to stay healthy and that’s a huge goal for any athlete.


“For me, it’s all about doing the best that I can. Obviously, I love playing well in all the Grand Slams and I hate to lose, regardless of where it is.”


She is gunning for her fifth Australian title and is one of only three players in the field to have lifted the trophy — Maria Sharapova and Henin are the others.


World number two Safina is back to try and avenge her humiliating defeat to Williams in less than an hour last year, but she has been hampered by a back injury.


It forced her out of tennis in October but the Russian said all is now well and she is confident of challenging for the title once again.


“I’m 100 percent. I’m ready to play,” she said.


“If I play my best, let’s see what can happen.”


She leads a strong Russian challenge which also includes Svetlana Kuznetsova, Elena Dementieva, and Vera Zvonareva — all top 10 players.


Also back in business after a long lay-off with a shoulder injury is Sharapova, the 2008 champion and former world number one.


She said she was feeling fit and raring to reclaim her place in the top 10.


“I keep getting stronger. I’m ready for the challenge (in Australia) — mentally and physically,” said the 22-year-old, now ranked 14.


“Obviously I stepped away because I had to,” she added.


“It was frustrating — very frustrating. And boring…. But there is no better healer than time.”


Serena’s sister, Venus, will also be a threat but it is the return to Melbourne of Clijsters and Henin that has whetted appetites.


Clijsters, a crowd favourite in Australia, retired in May 2007 to have a baby but made a partial comeback last year which saw her sensationally win the US Open.


This year is her first full season back on tour and few will bet against her making the second week of the tournament after beating Henin to win the Brisbane International last week.


“I think we are both capable of getting back into the top 10 and I think it won’t take long for Justine to have a crack at that,” she said.


Henin retired in May 2008 when world number one with seven Grand Slam titles, including the 2004 Australian Open, citing a lack of desire.


But the lure of the game has drawn her back and she looks as good as she ever.


Now 27, she injured her leg late in the Brisbane final, but said the tournament had given her a big boost ahead of the Open.


“I’m really happy, it gives me the confidence I need before the Open,” she said.


Others players in contention include popular Serb Jelena Jankovic and her compatriot Ana Ivanovic, who is desperate to recover from a disappointing 2009 when she slumped to 22 in the world after a run of injuries and poor form.


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