'S-HERTOGENBOSCH, Netherlands - Prior to her arrival in the Netherlands, Kim Clijsters' name was not among many people's lists of potential Wimbledon champions. But with every match she plays at the UNICEF Open the tide of opinion is turning.
On Tuesday, she produced a grass court masterclass to ease past Kateryna Bondarenko and into the quarterfinals. Twenty-four hours earlier, Bondarenko had knocked out No.2 seed Sara Errani, but she was no match for a rampant Clijsters, who never looked back after breaking serve in a marathon fourth game, wrapping up a 62 61 win after barely an hour on court.
"The match with Bondarenko was a lot better than my first match of the week," Clijsters said. "After the draw I knew that it was very important to get through the first round and then I would start to feel more confident on the grass."
Another player feeling confident on the Rosmalen lawns is Dominika Cibulkova. After dropping just four games in her first match this week, the No.3 seed looked set for a similarly rapid win when she rattled through the first set against Shahar Peer.
The second proved to be a tighter affair as the pair traded service breaks with a frequency rarely seen on a grass court, but in the end it was Cibulkova who held her nerve to advance, 62 76(5).
"I started very well just like in the first round," Cibulkova said. "In the second set she got better and pushed me to a higher level, and I'm happy she did because it's great preparation here."
Meeting Cibulkova next will be No.8 seed Nadia Petrova after she saw off Anabel Medina Garrigues, 75 63.
"Nadia is a very experienced player and she has a great serve so it's going to be tough on the grass," Cibulkova added.
One seed not making it through to the last eight, though, was Flavia Pennetta. Taking on qualifier Urszula Radwanska, the Italian, seeded No.4 this week, looked off the pace from the start, going down 61 61 in just 54 minutes.
"I didn't expect it to be so easy because she's a tough opponent and I think the match was closer than the score," Radwanska said.
"I played my best tennis today and I'm feeling really comfortable and well prepared on the grass after playing a few matches here and in Nottingham and Birmingham," she added.