WTA

Clijsters takes solace in periods of dominance during Muguruza defeat

By Sports Desk February 17, 2020

Kim Clijsters took solace in feeling like she had periods of dominance against Garbine Muguruza, who ensured the four-time major champion's comeback began with a defeat.

Making her first appearance on the WTA Tour since the 2012 US Open, former world number one Clijsters fell to a 6-2 7-6 (8-6) defeat against Australian Open finalist Muguruza in the first round of the Dubai Tennis Championships.

The 36-year-old dropped her first two service games in the second set but managed to get things back on serve and force a tie-break, something she was proud of despite her early exit.

Clijsters said: "I felt obviously the second set was a big difference compared to the first set. My timing in the first set, my footing, just kept looking for it.

"I felt a few times it was there, then it would be off a few points. At times I felt like I was close. I was seeing the ball clear. Just started reading her game better, as well, getting used to her pace a little bit.

"Yeah, second set I felt I was really in the match. I felt like for a while I was dominating some of the points.

"I think that's a good feeling to have, knowing the way I started the first set and then the way I was able to get back into that second set, with the type of tennis I played, it's something that is the positive about this match. I'll take that with me for the next matches.

"I had a good feeling out there. I do feel a little bit of, I'm not going to say relief, but a feeling that the pace I can handle."

Muguruza accepted she went into the match completely unsure of what to expect, with Clijsters representing something of an unknown quantity, though she is now anticipating the Belgian to cause problems for plenty of players.

"I think she played very well, especially in the second set at the end," Muguruza said. "It was very tight.

"I think this is just special because I didn't know how [Clijsters was] going to play. I know she can play incredible - she did at some point play [at an] incredible level. I haven't seen her play in so long, so it's like, 'Okay, what's going to happen?'

"I'm sure she's going to get better and better, for sure, [and] give us a lot of trouble."

Clijsters' fellow Belgian Elise Mertens was in action earlier in the day and had significantly fewer issues, cruising past Wang Qiang in straight sets.

Mertens needed a little over an hour to secure her progression, ultimately running out a comfortable 6-3 6-0 victor – winning the second set in just 25 minutes.

World number 18 Alison Riske suffered a shock 7-6 (7-3) 1-6 6-3 defeat at the hands of Ons Jabeur, who set up a second-round clash with Simona Halep.

The Tunisian, who is ranked 45th in the world, eventually came out on top and owed much to her ability to hit a winner, outscoring Riske 28 to 11 in that metric as she claimed a seventh career win over a top-20 opponent.

Barbora Strycova came through a lengthy encounter with 18-year-old Amanda Animisova, beating the American 6-3 (7-3) 2-6 6-4 over two hours and 33 minutes, taking advantage of her opponent's proneness to errors.

Marketa Vondrousova was the highest-ranked player in action on Tuesday, and she dispatched Anastasija Sevastova with relative ease, winning 6-3 6-2.

Related items

  • Coronavirus: Zverev suspects he contracted COVID-19 prior to Australian Open Coronavirus: Zverev suspects he contracted COVID-19 prior to Australian Open

    Australian Open semi-finalist and German star Alexander Zverev suspects he contracted coronavirus in December.

    COVID-19 has wreaked havoc across the world, with more than 69,300 deaths globally and sport brought to a standstill.

    All ATP and WTA tournaments have been called off until mid-July, with Wimbledon cancelled, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    Zverev produced his best grand slam performance at the Australian Open, where he reached the semi-finals in January, and the 22-year-old believes he may have been infected prior to the year's opening major in Melbourne.

    "My friend Brenda and I were in China on December 28," the world number seven told Bild.

    "You can't imagine how I coughed for a month in Australia. I had a fever for two or three days and I coughed for five or six hours. Brenda too. We didn't know what it was. It was a cough that I never had. I had no pain, but I coughed continuously every 10 seconds.

    "I had no pain, but I coughed continuously every ten seconds."

  • Coronavirus: Del Potro 'still nervous' watching US Open final win over Federer Coronavirus: Del Potro 'still nervous' watching US Open final win over Federer

    Juan Martin del Potro was "still nervous" as he watched a replay of his US Open final win over Roger Federer in 2009.

    The coronavirus pandemic has brought sport to a standstill around the world, with many broadcasters opting to show classic matches from the past.

    Del Potro, whose career has been ravaged by injuries, won his only grand slam 11 years ago, beating Federer in a five-setter in New York.

    On his Instagram story on Saturday, the Argentinian was watching a replay of his 3-6 7-6 (7-5) 4-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 victory.

    Del Potro wrote: "[It's] 11 years later and I'm still nervous."

    Del Potro, 31, was last in action in mid-2019 before needing surgery on his knee.

    The ATP and WTA Tour seasons are suspended until at least July 13, with Wimbledon having been cancelled for the first time since World War II.

  • Coronavirus: Spain considers domestic tour that could star Nadal, report says Coronavirus: Spain considers domestic tour that could star Nadal, report says

    Could Rafael Nadal return to tennis in an all-Spanish series of tournaments before the global ATP season swings back into action?

    That was the possibility raised on Saturday by a report that indicates the Royal Spanish Tennis Federation (RFET) hopes to put on a domestic men's tour to enable the country's top players to build match fitness.

    Spanish sports newspaper Marca said it had learnt, through RFET sporting vice-president Tomas Carbonell, that plans were in the works for between eight and 10 tournaments to take place at clubs and academies in Spain.

    They would feature the country's leading players, open to those in the top 100, including world number two Nadal.

    Nadal on Saturday released an Instagram video showing how he and sister Maria Isabel are passing the time during lockdown, playing patio tennis over a couple of garden chairs.

    All ATP and WTA tournaments have been called off until mid-July, with Wimbledon cancelled, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    The French Open has been controversially postponed from May until late September, starting just a week after the US Open wraps up.

    Nadal has triumphed a record 12 times at Roland Garros and would not want to go to Paris short of match practice, which may mean domestic competition could appeal to the 19-time grand slam winner.

    Spain's next-highest ranked men's player is world number 12 Roberto Bautista Agut, followed by Pablo Carreno Busta (25) and Albert Ramos-Vinolas (41).

    Marca reports the prospect of a Spanish tour would hinge on the mid-season hard-court swing, including the US Open, being cancelled.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.