Clijsters makes winning return
Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:45
The 26-year-old Belgian was playing in New York for the first time since winning the 2005 title, having retired from tennis to start a family in 2006.
Now a mother of an 18-month-old daughter, Clijsters was given a wild card into the final grand slam of the year, and opened play on the first morning of the championship at the main Arthur Ashe Stadium. It was a fleeting appearance, Clijsters brushing aside world number 79 Viktoriya Kutuzova of Ukraine 6-1 6-1 in just under an hour.
The former world number one, playing just her third tournament since coming out of retirement, was quickly out of the blocks on a cloudy but dry day in New York.
She moved into a 2-0 lead in the first set only to be held up in the third game by the Ukrainian, who earned three break points before Clijsters eventually held serve.
Kutuzova finally got on the scoreboard at 5-1 down, but Clijsters served out for the set after just 27 minutes.
Clijsters had served four double faults in the opening set but her service was faultless in the second, winning all nine of her first-service points and three out of three on her second serve as Kutuzova was swept aside.
Clijsters, in the same quarter of the draw as number three seed Venus Williams, could next face 14th seed Marion Bartoli of France in what would be a rematch of her first match back at the Cincinnati Masters two weeks ago.
Clijsters won that encounter and went on to beat French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia en route to a quarter-final defeat by world number one Dinara Safina.