Originally published on: 26/02/10 13:01
Clijsters won the match 6-3 6-3 but she was far from comfortable against the heavy hitting of her 32-year-old Thai opponent.
Tanasugarn, who reached the quarter-finals of Wimbledon in 2008, was able to dictate points against the 15th seed who needed one hour and 39 minutes to fend off the challenge from the world number 99.
The 26-year-old Belgian has been in good form since her comeback last year and won the Brisbane International a fortnight ago to put her as one of the favourites at Melbourne Park.
Clijsters lived up to that tag early on when she rattled off the first three games, but Tanasugarn’s aggression earned her a break back.
The Thai disappointingly handed in straight back following a poor service game and while Clijsters served out the set it was apparent her task was not as easy as it may have appeared before the match.
Tanasurgarn proved that when she then shot out to a 3-0 lead in the second set before Clijsters steadied.
The Belgian reeled off the next four games and while Tanasurgarn continued her gutsy resistance she did not have enough for the two-time grand slam winner who clinched the match with another break of serve.