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Rediff.com  » Sports » Clijsters loses bearings, finds top form at Wimbledon

Clijsters loses bearings, finds top form at Wimbledon

Last updated on: June 21, 2010 20:58 IST

It took Kim Clijsters a few minutes to familiarise herself again with the layout at Wimbledon after a four-year absence. Once on court though, the returning Belgian wasted little time in swatting aside Italian Maria Elena Camerin 6-0, 6-3 to ease into the second round on Monday.

Clijsters, twice a semi-finalist at the All England Club, found herself in the unfamiliar surroundings of Court Two for a low-key clash with the world number 120.

Nervous and excited Clijsters, 27, was just happy to be playing competitively again on the Wimbledon grass after returning to the tour last year after a maternity break.

"I was nervous and excited to be out there again. I had to find my way to get there (court two) a little bit -- luckily a security guard knew where he was going because I actually had no idea," she told a news conference.

Clijsters compared her feelings to that of a child returning for a new year at school.

"Excitement, curious... a lot of emotions," she said.

Those emotions were quickly harnessed as the Belgian produced a ruthless display that saw her heading back to the locker room after a little over an hour on court.

She rattled through the first set in just 24 minutes as she efficiently worked her flailing opponent from one side of the court to the other with a succession of rasping forehands that peppered the baseline.

Camerin at least avoided the ignominy of being double-bageled by the Belgian again. Having suffered a 6-0, 6-0 drubbing in their only previous encounter in 2004, the Italian finally got on the scoreboard when she held her opening service game of the second set - much to her own joy and relief as she raised both hands in triumph.

Clijsters was forced to work harder for her points thereafter but a break in the eighth game sealed Camerin's fate, the eighth seed then serving out to love.

"I can play better but overall I think I played a good match," Clijsters said. "What's really important on grass is that you stay on top of your baseline. If I can do that then I'll know that I'm playing some of my best tennis."

Clijsters, despite taping on her left foot, showed no ill effects from the muscle injury she suffered while representing Belgium against Estonia in the Fed Cup in April which forced her to miss the French Open.

Her run to the quarter-finals at Eastbourne last week before a defeat to Victoria Azarenka has, she said, given her cause for optimism of a run deep into Wimbledon fortnight.

"I had a couple of matches last week when I was really happy with the way that I played, and it really helped me to find the game I was looking for on grass. I know what it is, it's just a matter of doing it every rally and every shot."

Clijsters next faces Croatia's Karolina Sprem.

Wimbledon women's singles first round results:

* Shenay Perry (US) beat Anastasiya Yakimova (Belarus) 6-2 4-6 9-7

* 27-Maria Kirilenko (Russia) beat Stefanie Voegele (Switzerland) 2-6 6-4 7-5

* Petra Martic (Croatia) beat Elena Baltacha (Britain) 2-6 7-5 6-3

* Alla Kudryavtseva (Russia) beat Sofia Arvidsson (Sweden) 6-4 6-1

* Karolina Sprem (Croatia) beat Bethanie Mattek-Sands (US) 6-3 6-4

11-Marion Bartoli (France) beat Julia Goerges (Germany) 6-4 6-3

12-Nadia Petrova (Russia) beat Tatjana Malek (Germany) 6-4 6-3

21-Vera Zvonareva (Russia) beat Nuria Llagostera Vives (Spain) 6-4 6-1

8-Kim Clijsters (Belgium) beat Maria Elena Camerin (Italy) 6-0 6-3

Chan Yung-Jan (Taiwan) beat Patty Schnyder (Switzerland) 6-0 6-2

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