Clijsters Puts Paris Behind Her

Kim Clijsters was victorious in her 's-Hertogenbosch opener, her first match since her upset loss at Roland Garros.

Published June 13, 2011 09:01

Clijsters Puts Paris Behind Her
Kim Clijsters

'S-HERTOGENBOSCH, Netherlands - Kim Clijsters has 41 career singles titles, but only two have come on grass. One of those happens to be at the UNICEF Open in 2003. In fact, that was the last time she played here until now.

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The top-seeded Clijsters was pushed but got past Monica Niculescu, 75 75, on Monday in her first match since her stunning upset defeat to Arantxa Rus in the second round of Roland Garros. The Belgian jumped out to a 4-2 first set lead, dropped three straight games to allow Niculescu to serve for the set, but broke her, held and broke again to seal the set. At 5-4 in the second set, she had three match points on Niculescu's serve but failed to convert. She had two more at 6-5, eventually converting on her fifth match point.

"She's a tricky player and tough to read because she she mixes it up a lot with slices and serves and volleys," Clijsters said of Niculescu. "Especially on grass, she can make it really tough for a lot of players. You have to stay focused and I think that's what I did well today. When I had to, I was able to come up with an aggressive shot and effective serve. I enjoyed it."

Next up for Clijsters is Italian qualifier Romina Oprandi.

"She has a good serve and likes to mix it up as well," Clijsters said. "It's going to be very important on my side of the court that I stay focused, stay very low, move my feet around a lot. I expect a tough match again."

Coincidentally, Rus also had her first main draw match since the French Open on Monday, but was unable to pull off the upset this time, falling to No.2 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova, 62 64. The Russian talked about her chances at the upcoming Wimbledon.

"I think I can win it, but I don't consider myself a favorite because I've never gone further than the quarters and there are so many other good players who are playing well now," said Kuznetsova, a three-time quarterfinalist at the All-England Club.

Other seeded winners were third-seeded Yanina Wickmayer and fourth-seeded Flavia Pennetta. There was one upset, with Kimiko Date-Krumm knocking off sixth-seeded Maria Kirilenko, 76(5) 62.

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