Will Kim Be Boss In Den Bosch?
Published June 11, 2011 11:10
'S-HERTOGENBOSCH, Netherlands - This week sees former champion Kim Clijsters return to the Unicef Open for the first time since she won the title in 2003. As top seed at the $220,000 International, she'll be looking to hone her grass court form after a disappointing showing at the French Open.
Watch Eastbourne & Den Bosch on WTA Live powered by Tennis TV!
The world No.2, who missed most of the clay season due to injury, has bounced back before. But she'll have her work cut out in a field that includes another former Grand Slam champion, Svetlana Kuznetsova, who is making her event debut as the No.2 seed. First up for Clijsters though is crafty Romanian Monica Niculescu; Kuznetsova has drawn a qualifier.
Yanina Wickmayer, the Belgian No.2 and runner-up at this Wimbledon warm-up two years ago, has what it takes to stop both of those stars, and could present as a dangerous semifinal opponent for Kuznetsova. Italy's Flavia Pennetta, more at home of clay and hardcourts, is seeded fourth; like Clijsters, she hasn't had much to cheer about in recent months, but is a classy competitor on any surface.
The second tier of seeds features Dominika Cibulkova at No.5; Maria Kirilenko at No.6; Roberta Vinci at No.7 and Klara Zakopalova at No.8. Zakopalova was champion here in 2005, and runner-up the year before that.
With last year's winner, Justine Henin, in retirement, the only other former champion in the field is Anna Chakvetadze, who triumphed in 2007. Dutch fans also have a chance to admire the style of Japanese veteran Kimiko Date-Krumm, who is playing this event for the first time, at the age of 40.
Wildcards have been awarded to Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands, Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium, and 17-year-old Laura Robson of Great Britain. Bertens plays Sara Errani in the first round, while Flipkens faces Zakopalova and Robson bumps into Arantxa Parra Santonja.
Kirilenko and Niculescu are the doubles top seeds.