Clijsters Continues To Shine In Den Bosch
Published June 21, 2012 11:28
An injury-ravaged last 12 months has seen Clijsters - who was World No.1 as recently as last February - slip so far down the rankings that she failed to make the All-England Club's list of 32 seeds for The Championships. However, her performances at this week's UNICEF Open suggest that anyone writing her off will be doing so at their own peril.
The latest warning shot was fired on Thursday as she overcame a determined Francesca Schiavone to make the semifinals. In an encounter where the margins between winning and losing were razor thin, it was Clijsters who held steady when it mattered, capturing the match's only service break in the fourth game to take the opener, before fending off two set points to take the second on a tie-break.
"Me and Francesca always have a battle and the match was a lot closer than two sets suggests - I really had play consistent in the second set and not make many mistakes in the tie-break," Clijsters said. "Francesca is a tough opponent who has lots of experience so I am really pleased to win this match."
Clijsters' reward for her 63 76(7) win is a meeting with the tournament's surprise package, Urszula Radwanska.
"I'm feeling better each match and Urszula will be a tough opponent," Clijsters added. "I know she has come back from injuries so that is great to see her doing well again."
After an up and down start to 2012, Radwanska has really come into her own since the start of the grass court season. A title at the ITF event in Nottingham was followed by a third round run in Birmingham and three more wins this week - the latest coming over Sofia Arvidsson, 62 76(3).
"It was tough conditions because of the rain delay, and I actually fell down the first point after coming back on court," Radwanska said. "But I played a good match overall and I'm really happy that I won.
"Clijsters is a great player, but I will do my best to win and I hope I can play even better than I did against Sofia."
Rain also disrupted defending champion Roberta Vinci's quarterfinal with Kirsten Flipkens. Vinci was trailing 46 56 when the heavens opened, and the pair will now have to come back on Friday to determine who is to face Nadia Petrova, who delivered a near-flawless performance to thrash No.3 seed Dominika Cibulkova, 62 60.
"I definitely did not expect such an easy match, because the last few times we've played she has won," Petrova said. "I was motivated to win and I played a very good game; I served big, went for my shots and put pressure on her serve and tried to be aggressive.
"I don't mind who I play next and whoever I play I will have to deal with whatever challenges they give me."