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40 LOVE Moments: Lina's Day In Toronto

Kim Clijsters was crowned World No.1 on the Monday of the 2003 Rogers Cup - but on Thursday, in the Belgian's second match as the best player in the world, Lina Krasnoroutskaya played spoiler.

Published August 07, 2013 12:01

40 LOVE Moments: Lina's Day In Toronto
Lina Krasnoroutskaya

TORONTO, Canada - It was one of the biggest shockers in the long history of the Rogers Cup, not just from a stats perspective, but just the timing of it all. Kim Clijsters came to Toronto in 2003 on the heels of an absolute breakthrough season, and was crowned World No.1 on the Monday - but on Thursday, in the Belgian's second match as the best player in the world, Lina Krasnoroutskaya played spoiler.

Clijsters came into the Rogers Cup that year as a strong favorite for the title. She had reached the semifinals or better at all 14 tournaments she had played on the season coming in - and we're not talking 14 semifinals, we're talking six titles, five finals and three semifinals. And upon arriving in Toronto she was honored as the WTA's 13th World No.1 at a special ceremony on Centre Court.

Maybe 13 wasn't the luckiest number.

After a first round bye, Clijsters beat Francesca Schiavone in straight sets in the second round in her first match as No.1, and, facing Krasnoroutskaya in the third round, she won the first set 6-1 in just 19 minutes - another routine victory seemed in the cards. But after squandering a 40-15 lead in her 2-all service game in the second set and getting broken, Clijsters' momentum turned on a dime, and the hard-hitting Krasnoroutskaya played the match of her life, eventually winning the second set 6-4 and steamrolling through the third set, serving up a love game to close out a 16 64 61 stunner.

"I'm very surprised," Krasnoroutskaya said. "I really didn't expect this from myself.

"I had nothing to lose - she's No.1 in the world and I just did it."

Krasnoroutskaya ended up making it all the way to the final of the Premier-level event before losing to Justine Henin - but that wasn't the only mark she left on the WTA by any means, having reached her first Grand Slam quarterfinal at the French Open a few years earlier in 2001 (falling to Henin there too) and scoring another Top 10 victory earlier in 2003 (against former World No.1 Monica Seles).

For Clijsters, however, that was her only stumble all season - she made the semifinals or better at all 20 of her other events, including all four Grand Slams. She made 15 finals, the most since Seles in 1991. She won 90 matches, the most since Martina Navratilova in 1982. She played over 100 matches - 112 to be exact - the most in a season since Chris Evert in 1974. She also had a stellar doubles season, winning seven titles - including Roland Garros and Wimbledon with Ai Sugiyama - and got to No.1 there as well. She became the first player ever to win more than $4 million in a single season.

Kim Clijsters

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