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Friday, December 09, 2011
Kim Clijsters successful in 1st exhibition after long break
(CNN) -- Four-time grand slam champion Kim Clijsters made a successful return from injury by defeating world number one Caroline Wozniacki in an exhibition match in Antwerp, Belgium.
Clijsters, U.S. Open champion in 2005, 2009 and 2010, has been out for almost four months after sustaining a stomach muscle injury in August.
"So far, and today, everything felt really great," the 28-year-old said told the 10,000-strong crowd after winning 6-2 7-6 (7-5) at the Antwerp Sports Palace on Thursday.
The Belgian will now focus on preparing to defend her Australian Open crown in Melbourne in January after securing victory in one hour and 35 minutes.
Clijsters climbed to the top of the world rankings in February before sustaining shoulder and ankle injuries in April. She injured her stomach while attempting to recover in time to challenge for a fourth U.S. Open title and is only now regaining full fitness.
"I am happy to have played a match and break the rhythm of daily training," the 41-time WTA Tour winner said.
Clijsters initially retired from tennis in 2007 to concentrate on raising her daughter, but in 2009 she performed a u-turn and announced she would return to sport.
It was a spectacular comeback as Clijsters gained wild-card entry to the U.S. Open before going on to win the title at Flushing Meadows two years in a row.