Sunday, January 9, 2011
Kim and Kuznetsova come out fighting.
World No.3 Kim Clijsters began her 2011 season with a bang on Sunday afternoon, rolling past young Romanian Alexandra Dulgheru in the first round of the Medibank International Sydney, 6-1 6-2.
Clijsters, the No.3 seed at the Premier event, won the first 11 points and the first five games of the match and didn't look back, advancing in just 62 minutes.
Sydney has been a successful venue for Clijsters, who has won this prestigious title twice before, in 2003 (defeating Lindsay Davenport in the final) and 2007 (beating Jelena Jankovic). With her win Sunday she improved to 13-2 lifetime here, those two losses both coming to Martina Hingis (in 2001 and 2002).
In the second round, Clijsters will play either Nadia Petrova or a qualifier. It could be a chance at revenge for Clijsters: at last year's Australian Open, Petrova dealt Clijsters the worst loss of her professional career.
Clijsters has a chance of moving to No.2 in the world this week, if she wins the title and Vera Zvonareva loses before the quarterfinals. Zvonareva has a first round bye and will play Flavia Pennetta or a qualifier in the second round.
In the only other main draw match, Svetlana Kuznetsova never lost her serve and eased past Jelena Dokic in 67 minutes, 6-2 6-2. The two hadn't played in seven and a half years; Kuznetsova is now 2-1 lifetime against Dokic.
"I'm pretty happy with my performance. I worked a lot on my game and my fitness during the off-season and feel good," Kuznetsova said. "I want to get as many matches as I can. It's going to be tougher from the start of tournaments because of my ranking, but if I continue like today hopefully I can do well."
Also on Sunday, Ekaterina Makarova, Barbora Zahlavova Strycova, Bojana Jovanovski, Sandra Zahlavova, Lucie Hradecka and Virginie Razzano all secured berths in the main draw with wins in qualifying.