World No.1 Clijsters
Published February 11, 2011 12:00
PARIS, France - Kim Clijsters made an emphatic return to No.1, starting slowly against Jelena Dokic then absolutely steamrolling to reach the semis of the Open GDF SUEZ and secure herself the top spot come Monday.
Dokic, who won her way into the main draw through qualifying then scored her biggest wins in more than two years against Lucie Safarova and Nadia Petrova, came out on fire, scorching to a 3-0 lead. But the scare was short-lived, as Clijsters, the No.1 seed, reeled off 12 games in a row for a 63 60 win.
Clijsters will spend her 19th career week at No.1 next week. It has been 256 weeks since the last time she was No.1, the second-longest gap between stints at No.1 for both the WTA and the ATP World Tour (Serena Williams had 265).
"I am happy to regain No.1 here in Paris as I feel like it's close to home in Belgium," Clijsters commented. "I'm proud I have achieved this in my second career and as a mom. I hope I can now go on and win the tournament."
"I congratulate Kim on achieving No.1 once again in her career," said Stacey Allaster, Chairman & CEO of the WTA. "It is incredible that five years have passed since Kim was No.1, but the fans of women's tennis are incredibly lucky to have her back and playing the best tennis of her career. To be able to excel on the court while being a working mother is truly commendable."
Clijsters' first 10 weeks at No.1 came between August 11 and October 19, 2003 (she was displaced by Justine Henin). Her next two weeks came between October 27 and November 9, 2003 (she was again displaced by Henin). Years later, Clijsters spent seven more weeks at No.1 between January 30 and March 19, 2006 (this time displaced by Amélie Mauresmo, who retired at the end of the 2009 season and is now the Co-Tournament Director here in Paris).
No.4 seed Petra Kvitova and Bethanie Mattek-Sands also made the semis. Kvitova rallied from 3-5 in the third to beat No.7 seed Yanina Wickmayer, 57 63 76(3), while Mattek-Sands upset No.6 seed Andrea Petkovic, 76(4) 26 63.
"I was a step or two away from each ball due to her aggressive play," Petkovic said. "I'm disappointed. I have to get used to playing so many matches and going further in tournaments. She played unbelievably at the end of the first set."
"It was a high-level match. Either of us could have won," Mattek-Sands said. "Andrea has been playing great and she's a cool person, but it was sweet revenge for our meeting at the US Open. I was planning to rush her because if she has time, she rips the ball. Kvitova is very confident at the moment and she'll be going for her shots. I'm going to play my game and be aggressive."