Clijsters Reaches 500, Last 16 Line-Up Set
Published March 27, 2011 12:00
MIAMI, FL, USA - She had to work for it, but Kim Clijsters recorded the 500th match win of her career on Sunday afternoon, beating María José Martínez Sánchez to reach the fourth round of the Sony Ericsson Open, 64 46 63.
Martínez Sánchez had beaten Top 5 players twice before (both wins coming against Caroline Wozniacki) and her net-rushing game was hitting the mark in the two-hour match, but in the end No.2 seed Clijsters was just too strong for the No.27 seed, as the Belgian reached 500 wins (500-117 overall).
"The way she played, she reminded me a little bit of a girl I played at the Australian Open, Cornet," Clijsters said. "She had a really flat backhand and a forehand she hit with more topspin. It's always hard when you have a player who plays two totally different shots on each side. You have to be ready to move and adjust all the time. A couple of times my footwork wasn't right and I wasn't playing how I should have been, but I'm happy I was able to move through."
Next for Clijsters is No.19 seed Ana Ivanovic, who advanced with a 26 62 30 retirement victory when Virginie Razzano had to stop mid-way through the third set due to a thigh strain. "I didn't expect it at all," Ivanovic said about the retirement. "She was playing really well in the first set and hardly made any errors. In the second set her shots were a little shorter and I turned it around by being more aggressive and it worked. I was able to put more pressure on her."
"I'm just enjoying my tennis and competing," Ivanovic said. "I look forward to that match. Kim's a great player, one of the best out there. It will be a good match."
"I always root for Ana because we go back a long time and get along really well," Clijsters said of Ivanovic, a fellow former No.1. "It's nice to see she's doing well and she's happy. Tomorrow night I'm going to try and do what I've done well against her in the past, be aggressive and go for the lines."
No.3 seed Vera Zvonareva also had a tough one but managed to scrape through, fending off the power game of No.28 seed Jarmila Groth in a tight two-setter, 76(4) 62. The match featured a whopping 18 aces (Zvonareva 10, Groth 8). Next for Zvonareva is No.15 seed Marion Bartoli, who won the first 10 games and eventually completed a 60 62 win over Ekaterina Makarova.
"Jarka has improved so much over the past year," Zvonareva said. "I was up 5-2 in the first set and things got tougher, but I played a bit better in the second set. I'm just trying to keep my focus and push myself as far as I can every day."
Zvonareva leads Bartoli in their head-to-head, 8-2. Bartoli did win their last meeting at Beijing in 2009, 36 75 62, but Zvonareva led 63 51 in that match.
"It's always interesting against Marion," Zvonareva added. "We've had tough encounters in the past and I'm sure it will be tough again. I'm excited about the challenge and we'll see what happens at the end of the day."
In other matches, No.5 seed Francesca Schiavone rallied from a double break down in the second set to get past Lourdes Domínguez Lino, 64 76(2); No.9 seed Agnieszka Radwanska beat No.24 seed Maria Kirilenko, 76(2) 63; No.17 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova pulled off an upset over No.12 seed Petra Kvitova, 64 67(3) 60; and at night No.8 seed Victoria Azarenka rallied from 63 31 down to beat No.25 seed Dominika Cibulkova, 36 63 64.
Japanese No.1 Kimiko Date-Krumm has set up a personal fund called Always Smile to help the Japanese earthquake and tsunami victims. If you would like to help out, please visit http://www.kimiko-date.com/gien/index.html.