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Super mum Clijsters back with a bang


 

Originally published on: 26/02/10 11:40

Former world No.1 Kim Clijsters made an immediate impact on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour by winning her comeback match in Cincinnati on Monday.

The 26-year-old marked her first competitive contest since her retirement in May 2007 with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli at the Western and Southern Financial Group Womens Open.

‘I hope it goes really well for her’ – Venus

Clijsters got married and gave birth to a baby daughter during her absence from the game and said the level of her play had come a pleasant surprise.

“To win my first match feels good,” said Clijsters, whose reward is a second round meeting with Patty Schnyder of Switzerland.

“I surprised myself a little with the way I started and I kept fighting and trying to stay focused. I felt good.

“I didn’t really have any expectations. I just wanted to go out there and play I guess my mindset was a bit different.

I think what I did well was even when my level was a little bit up and down, mentally I stayed focused. That’s what I am really happy with.

The quality of the result suggests it wont be long before Clijsters returns to the top of the womens world rankings. Bartoli, who was the 12th seed at the $2 million Ohio event, believes its a matter of when, not if.

“I guess the level of play, yes, it’s inside the top 10 already, I can tell you that, said Bartoli, who beat Venus Williams on her way to the Stanford title just a fortnight ago.

“The way she was moving and hitting, and her physical strength after two years without playing, it’s just amazing.”

Bartolis comments were echoed by her fellow pros with most happy to see a popular figure in the locker-room back on tour.

“I think she will do top 10 for sure,” French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova said. “She seems exactly the same as she was before.

“I think it’s great she comes back and I think tennis needed somebody like this. I am really excited. There are not many girls who really had a birth of a child and came back.”

Venus Williams added: “I think it’s great. I think she’s happy to be back and be here and I hope it goes really well for her. I think she will do well, definitely. She’s a great athlete and a great competitor.”

Former world No.1 Jelena Jankovic was another star glad to see Clijsters back. It’s always nice to see a well-known face come back again,” said the Serb.

“She was a great athlete and one of the best movers on tour. If she could be No.1 before, she can do it again.”

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