Clijsters Claws Back
Published August 18, 2010 12:00
MONTRÉAL, Canada - Coming off her third Sony Ericsson WTA Tour title of the year in Cincinnati, it looked as though the matches may have caught up with her, as Kim Clijsters fell behind 64 41 in her opening match at the Rogers Cup. But the fighting spirit that has taken her to the top rose up and she escaped American qualifier Bethanie Mattek-Sands, 46 64 63.
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Clijsters, the No.5 seed and a champion in Canada in 2005 in Toronto, looked down and out against the all-out attack of Mattek-Sands, who was firing from all cylinders - serve, groundstrokes, the net, drop shots - en route to 64 41, even having points for 64 51. The American lost five games in a row from there and although she fought hard in the third, Clijsters' experience shone through as she broke serve to complete the win, firing a forehand pass winner on match point.
"I'm happy the way I fought and raised my level towards the end. We are professional athletes and we work hard for these types of tournament," Clijsters said after the match. "The crowd was amazing. We even had the Mexican wave going at one point. They were really enjoying themselves tonight.
"Bethanie came up with some amazing shots. She's a player who can rise to the occasion. If she plays the level she played tonight in those first two sets, I don't see why she shouldn't be in the Top 10 or Top 15."
"It's frustrating. I hate losing," Mattek-Sands said. "I have to go back and watch some film of the match. She started hitting winners - the third set was tough."
Earlier, the No.2 and No.4 seeds won in straight sets. Caroline Wozniacki, the No.2 seed, recovered from 1-3 in the second and needed four match points to beat former Top 10 player Patty Schnyder, 75 75; Elena Dementieva, the No.4 seed, had a more comfy win over Klara Zakopalova, 62 64.
"Patty is a great player and knows how to play the points the way you don't like it," Wozniacki said. "I just tried to stay focused. I was not happy to miss my first few match points but I managed to pull it off in two sets, so I was happy."
"I was watching Klara's match against Stéphanie Dubois from a couple of nights ago. She has great defense and moves well," Dementieva, who won the Rogers Cup in Toronto last year, said. "Also it was windy so I played a little safer and I was happy to win in two sets. Every time the players come to Canada, we feel such great support from the crowd. It is a real pleasure to play in Canada, whether it's Montréal or Toronto. It's a lovely place to be."
No.7 seed Agnieszka Radwanska, No.10 seed Victoria Azarenka, No.11 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova, No.15 seed Flavia Pennetta and unseeded players Agnes Szavay and Kaia Kanepi also recorded second round wins. No.17 seed Marion Bartoli advanced to the third round when Kimiko Date Krumm withdrew before their match with a left quadriceps strain.