Kim Clijsters’ 2010 Grand Slam report card

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Kim Clijsters’ 2010 Grand Slam report card
Kim Clijsters burst out of the blocks after ending her retirement to claim the US Open crown in 2009, setting the bar almost impossibly high for her 2010 Grand Slam performances.
Almost. After failing to make the expected impact at the Australian Open and Wimbledon, and missing the French Open through injury, Clijsters returned to Flushing Meadows as defending champion and title favourite. She didn’t disappoint.
Here, we assess how she did at each of the majors this year.
Australian Open: fail
Clijsters’ 0-6, 1-6 capitulation to Nadia Petrova in the third round of the Australian Open stunned a tennis public who had perhaps, until that point, started to wonder whether the Belgian had returned from her two-plus year sabbatical from tennis with a newfound invincibility.
After all, this was the player who had taken just three tournaments of her return to become the US Open champion for the second time in her career, and had arrived in Australia in similarly strong form as she defeated fellow comeback queen Justine Henin in a three set Brisbane final.
Then came the match against Petrova. Clijsters showed up, but her game didn’t.
“I was completely off. Just, you know, I think tennis wise, I didn't feel the ball at all,” Clijsters said afterwards. “She served really well and was aggressive in the rallies, but that's because I let her play into the courts. Just because I wasn't feeling the ball well. It sucks.”
French Open: not applicable
The dual French Open runner-up (2001 and 2003) did not grace the courts at Roland Garros this year after sustaining a foot injury playing for Belgium in the Fed Cup. Paris will have to wait another year.
Wimbledon: pass
Ok, so losing to Vera Zvonareva in the quarter-finals after taking a one-set lead wasn’t the best finish for Clijsters who, if past performances were to be any guide, should have had the mental toughness to break down her emotion-charged opponent’s defences. But Zvonareva did go on to reach her maiden Grand Slam final at the All England Club before Serena Williams swept her aside.
Clijsters did however defeat Henin in three sets in the fourth round, to move to a 3-0 lead against her compatriot in the matches they have played since each recommenced her career after an extended break from the game.
US Open: top of the class
The US Open is Clijsters’ tournament. Simple as that.
Clijsters backed up her 2009 victory in 2010, dispatching Zvonareva 6-2, 6-1 in a one-sided final.
Along the way there were challenges, with French Open runner-up Sam Stosur forcing the defending champion to three sets in an error-strewn match completed in gusty conditions and Venus Williams taking the first set off Clijsters in their semi-final match, before double-faulting herself out of the second set tiebreak. Clijsters went on to claim the third set 6-4 and with it a place in the decider.
When the final point was played and won, Clijsters had become the first woman since Venus in 2000 and 2001 to win back-to-back US Open titles and had stretched her winning streak at the tournament to 21 straight matches (including her run to the 2005 title). Only Chris Evert (31 straight wins) has won more consecutive matches at the US Open in the Open Era.
“I'm very excited that I was able to defend my title,” Clijsters said post-match. “It's always an honour to go back to a place, especially a Grand Slam, where you've done well and you've won. You obviously want to bring your best tennis again.”
That she did, and when it counted most.
Is it too early to predict that Clijsters could make it three in a row in 2011?



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