Clijsters timing it right in Brisbane
Originally published on: 05/01/12 13:58
Little has been made of Kim Clijsters’ chances of glory in the build up to the first Grand Slam of the year. The fact that the Belgian has featured in just one final in her seven tournaments since winning her fourth Grand Slam title and first in Melbourne last year has seen to that.
But the former world No.1 appears to be in surprisingly dominant form for a woman who hasn’t played a tour event since last August.
Seemingly competing with her injury-hampered 2011 season firmly behind her, Clijsters followed up wins over Simona Halep and former world No.1 Ana Ivanovic with a 6-3 6-2 victory over Iveta Benesova to reach the semi-finals of the Brisbane International.
The Belgian raced into a 5-0 advantage in the first set and, though she was pegged back to 5-3, polished off the first set before powering through the second.
“I’m starting to feel more confident,” admitted Clijsters, who had flown through the first set of her previous match against Ivanovic, but had to dig in to fend off a fight back from the Serb.
“The little bit of the up and down maybe I had in my previous matches, especially in the one against Ana – that wasn’t there, which was good.”
The result means that Clijsters has never lost a match on a Brisbane court, having defeated compatriot Justine Henin for the title on her last appearance on Pat Rafter Arena in 2010.
Clijsters next faces a last four clash with Daniela Hantuchova, who benefited from Serena Williams’ earlier withdrawal, and the Belgian knows she will have to maintain her level to continue her eight-match unbeaten run in Brisbane.
“She’s a very good ball-striker, she can hit a target really well and so again it’s going o be very important to look for those lines and try not to go three, four times into the same corner of the court,” said the four-time Grand Slam champion of the Slovakian.
“[I will] just try to mix it up, believe in my strengths and be dominant like I did today and we’ll see what happens.”