Monday, February 7, 2011
Clijsters primed for top spot.
No.1 could change hands at the Open GDF SUEZ in Paris this week, with Kim Clijsters needing to reach the semifinals of the Premier event to regain the top spot she held for 19 weeks earlier in her career.
Clijsters rose to No.2 in the world last week after winning her first Australian Open title. It is the highest ranking of her comeback to the WTA, and if she wins her first two matches here (she has a first round bye, then would have her second round and quarterfinal matches) she will be No.1 again, taking over from Caroline Wozniacki, who has been No.1 since October 11, 2010.
The winner of Monday's match between Iveta Benesova and Kristina Barrois will be Clijsters' second round foe. She could face No.5 seed Nadia Petrova, Lucie Safarova, wildcard Virginie Razzano or a qualifier in the quarters.
Clijsters' first 10 weeks at No.1 came between August 11 and October 19, 2003 (she was displaced by Justine Henin). Her next two weeks came between October 27 and November 9, 2003 (she was again displaced by Henin). Years later, Clijsters spent seven more weeks at No.1 between January 30 and March 19, 2006 (this time displaced by Amélie Mauresmo, who retired at the end of the 2009 season and is now the Co-Tournament Director here in Paris).
Another former No.1, Maria Sharapova, is also in this week's field, and holds the No.2 seed. Making her first appearance here and within striking distance of a return to the Top 10 (she is now ranked No.13), Sharapova will play either Bethanie Mattek-Sands or Carla Suárez Navarro after a first round bye.
Rounding out the seeds are Kaia Kanepi, Petra Kvitova, Petrova, Andrea Petkovic, Yanina Wickmayer and Dominika Cibulkova. Liezel Huber and Petrova, 2010 US Open finalists, are seeded No.1 in the doubles draw.