Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Kim Clijsters thrashes Dinara Safina moves into Aussie Open 2nd round

Kim Clijsters powered into the second round of the Australian Open and left former world number one Dinara Safina shattered with a 6-0 6-0 victory.

The third seed was too strong, wrapping up victory in only 44 minutes.

 Clijsters made short work of her fellow former world number one, never allowing Safina into the match. 

The Russian, who was beaten in the 2009 final by Serena Williams, has seen her world ranking slip to 75 after a back injury and the defeat means she is likely to drop out of the top 100 for the first time since May 2002.

But the Belgian showed no mercy, sending pinpoint forehands to all areas of the court and when Safina did have an opportunity to return, she committed too many unforced errors.

Clijsters is hoping to reach her second Australian Open final

Safina's best chance of winning a game came in the last one, but her attempted winner was buried deep into the middle of the net. Two points later, Clijsters sealed victory, thanks to another Safina error.

"I expect my opponent to come out and play their best tennis," said the Belgian afterwards. "She obviously didn't do that today.

"But my attitude still was there to try and finish it off and not let her get back in the match, build some confidence, build some rhythm."

But Safina, who has won only nine of her last 25 matches since returning from her back injury, was less polite about her performance.

"I was sitting in the changeover, and I was like, OK, at least how can I get a chance to hurt her?," she said.

"Nothing was hurting her, not my backhand, my forehand or my serve. My return, nothing. She was dictating basically from the first point.

"There was nothing that I could do to hurt her. Embarrassing."

The 24-year-old Russian has vowed to try and regain the form that saw her top of the rankings as recently as October 2009. 

"I will give my 100% to get back. I will fight. I will go through whatever it takes. But first I want to find answers," Safina added. 

"I'm fully motivated. I practised hard. I cannot say that I didn't practise hard but I guess something was not right. I don't know. I have to figure out the answers.

"It's not that I don't want it, I want it. There's no doubt I want to come back and I want to play better. But now I have to find answers how I can come back. 

"My returns are not as aggressive as they used to be and maybe I need to serve closer to the lines, I don't know. 

"I was putting the pressure on the players. Now it's the opposite and they are putting the pressure on me."
And Clijsters has also given her backing to Safina, who lost 6-0 6-1 to Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli in Hobart last week. 

"She just doesn't have that same power that she used to have anymore. She used to have one of the best and most unpredictable backhand down the lines in the game. Now, she just doesn't use it as much anymore.

"I think it's obviously a big matter of confidence so that game is still in her. She didn't get to number one just by luck. 

"She just has to win a few matches, win a few tough matches, too, then build some more confidence." 


Wow, that's really sad, and very impressive at the same time (from Clijsters perspective).

And to think a lot of people were worried about this match up, and Clijsters having a hard time with it.

Not so much.  Looking forward to her 2nd round hopefully it'll be a little more competitive.

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