MONTREAL -- Kim Clijsters dug herself out of a deep hole to post a 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory over American Bethanie Mattek-Sands on Wednesday night at the US$2 million Rogers Cup.
After dropping the first set, the fifth-seeded Clijsters was down 4-1 in the second and had to fight off two break points to keep her match alive against the aggressive Mattek-Sands, a qualifer ranked 101st in the world.
Mattek-Sands continued to attack the net in the third and got a service break, only to give it back to the 27-year-old Clijsters, a two-time U.S. Open champion, is gunning for a second straight title after winning her 38th career tournament last week in Cincinnati.
Clijsters capped the match with a perfect passing with Mattek-Sands poised at the net waiting for a volley.
Clijsters was in her first match at Uniprix Stadium since injuring a wrist in a fall during a match with Stephanie Dubois of Laval, Que., in 2006, a setback that contributed to her decision the following year to take a more-than two-year break from the Tour.
She advanced to a third-round meeting with Kaia Kanepi of Estonia, a 7-5, 6-2 winner over Sybille Bammer of Austria.
Another topsy-turvy match, credit to Mattek-Sands though because Kim wasn't playing badly other then some unforced errors here and there and a few double faults (thankfully not as many as in Cincinnati against Maria Sharapova).
For the first set and a half Kim was simply being out played, especially at the net. Where Kim is very comfortable herself.
So all credit to her.
I have to say that Kim's serve has become worrisome of late.
I don't remember her hitting as many double faults in the beginning of her comeback where it was understandable for her to be rusty (after being away from the game for a few years).
The serve was the most solid thing about her game that's why she won the U.S. Open last year against someone like Serena Williams.
So that's all a bit strange. But to Clijsters credit she has won 3 titles this year which is more then can be said for most WTA players on the tour.
I have to give it up to Kim for her fighting spirit as well, her ability to turn the match around has been outstanding first against Sharapova last week (saving 3 match points).
And now against Mattek-Sands being down 15-40 1-4 in the second set. That kind of match toughness will help her tremendously at the U.S. Open in a week and a half.In fact I think once Kim gets her serve under control I would watch out if I were Serena. At the rate she's going Kim might just take her top spot by the end of next year.
Kaia Kanepi could prove to be another interesting challenge for Kim tomorrow but if she starts off well, she should go through hopefully in straight sets.
Well deserved win for Kim hope she gets lots of rest tonight (something tells me she'll need it). Kanepi is a tricky player.