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Kirilenko Edges Mirza, Clijsters In Fine Form

Maria Kirilenko rallied to win while Kim Clijsters was impressive in her return from injury.

Published March 25, 2011 12:00

Kirilenko Edges Mirza, Clijsters In Fine Form
Maria Kirilenko

MIAMI, FL, USA - Kim Clijsters looked solid in her first match since retiring with a shoulder injury at Indian Wells, routing Belarusian qualifier Anastasiya Yakimova in her opening match at the Sony Ericsson Open, 61 61.

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Clijsters, who had to stop mid-match against Marion Bartoli due to a right shoulder injury a week ago, showed no signs of pain as she won easily, needing just 49 minutes and winning over twice as many points (56 to 27).

"I knew she had a good result last week in the Bahamas," Clijsters said of Yakimova, who won a $100,000 ITF Circuit event in Nassau. "I just focused on my own game, tried to be aggressive and find my footwork again. I took a few days off after Indian Wells and needed time to get back into it."

And on the shoulder? "It's not fully healed, but it's healing. To me that's the biggest relief. After Indian Wells I was worried but now I'm able to do almost everything I want out there, which was definitely not the case last week."

Next up for Clijsters, the No.2 seed and defending champion here, is a first-time meeting with No.27-seeded Spaniard María José Martínez Sánchez.

Other winners in the day session were No.9 seed Agnieszka Radwanska, No.12 seed Petra Kvitova, No.15 seed Marion Bartoli, No.24 seed Maria Kirilenko, No.25 seed Dominika Cibulkova, No.28 seed Jarmila Groth and unseeded players Virginie Razzano, Ekaterina Makarova and Lourdes Domínguez Lino. Razzano pulled off the biggest upset of the day so far, edging No.14 seed Kaia Kanepi in a competitive two-setter, 63 76(5).

In her first match since reaching the final of Indian Wells last week and making it back into the Top 10, Bartoli beat Ayumi Morita in a see-saw duel, 63 26 61. Bartoli lost seven of eight games from 63 10 up, finding herself down 1-0 in the third set; but she caught fire again and reeled off six games in a row to win.

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Kirilenko also pulled off a comeback win, winning 11 straight games from 75 31 down to dispatch qualifier Sania Mirza, 57 63 60. Next up for Kirilenko is Radwanska - Radwanska leads Kirilenko in their head-to-head series, 4-2.

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