Photo: Paul ZimmerKim Clijsters (BEL)
Kim Clijsters’ singles career came to a shock end as she lost in two tiebreak sets, 76(4) 76(5), to British teenager Laura Robson on Wednesday. Clijsters, who has announced that she will be retiring after this year’s championships, will still compete in the women’s doubles and the mixed doubles in the hope that she can bid farewell with a trophy.
The Belgian has three US Open titles to her name and, prior to the match against Robson, had not lost at Flushing Meadows since her defeat in the 2003 final.
Clijsters first retired in 2007 before coming out of retirement in 2009 to become the first woman to win a major as a wildcard. She then retained the title in 2010 on her way to topping the world rankings.
This is the biggest win of Robson’s career so far and she was quick to praise her opponent: “Kim has been such a great player for so many years and a role model for all the younger girls coming up” said the 18-year-old.
It was a hard-hitting match where points were not given away cheaply but earned through winners, 58 were hit in total, and Robson showed maturity and confidence to go for her shots which paid off. She goes on to play Li Na in the third round who has already downed one British teenager in this year’s US Open when she beat Heather Watson in the first round.
Top seed and world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka is also through to the third round after a comfortable 62 62 victory over Belgian qualifier Kirsten Flipkens. Azarenka is showing the form which helped her win the Australian Open at the start of the year and is yet to drop a service game in the tournament.
Reigning French Open champion Maria Sharapova will join Azarenka in the third round. The third seed cruised past Lourdes Dominguez Lino of Spain 60 61 in under an hour. Reigning US Open champion Samantha Stosur eased through her match as well, overcoming Romanian Edina Gallovits-Hall 63 60.
Andy Murray made his way into the third round of the US Open for the seventh consecutive year courtesy of a comfortable 62 61 63 victory over Ivan Dodig of Croatia. Having started badly against Alex Bogomolov Jr in the first round, Murray flew out of the blocks against his opponent who is ranked No. 118 in the world following a back problem.
The Olympic champion and third seed broke his opponent’s serve six times during the match and played much more attacking tennis resulting in 30 winners and 10 aces.
Fourth seed David Ferrer is through to the second round after he came through a tough match against big-serving South African Kevin Anderson. Ferrer’s superior athleticism and consistency told in the end as he ran out a 64 62 76(4) winner.
American Brian Baker, competing in his first US Open for 7 years following a series of injuries, continued his incredible comeback with a comfortable 63 64 62 first round win over Czech Jan Hajek. Having started the year ranked No. 458, Baker rose to No. 70 in the world, allowing him direct entry into a Grand Slam tournament for the first time.
Baker will face off against Janko Tipsarevic in the second round after the Serb triumphed over Guillaume Rufin. The eighth seed did not have it all his own way, however, as Rufin raced into a two-set lead. The Serb’s quality showed through in the end though as he fought back to earn a 46 36 62 63 62 win.
John Isner, Richard Gasquet and Lleyton Hewitt all came through four-set matches though Viktor Troicki could not do the same as he fell to Germany’s Cedrik-Marcel Stebe 46 46 63 26. Mikhail Youzhny is also out as he suffered a shock defeat at the hands of Gilles Muller. Muller fought back from two sets down to win 26 36 75 76(6) 76(6) and will face Hewitt in the next round.
In the women’s draw there were also wins for Petra Kvitova, who beat Alize Cornet 64 63, Nadia Petrova, Lucie Safarova, and American Mallory Burdette who beat Lucie Hradecka 62 64.
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