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Clijsters happy among the big guns

Martyn Herman | June 21, 2005 11:06 IST

Kim Clijsters predicted a vintage women's singles tournament at Wimbledon after moving untroubled into the second round with a 6-2, 6-3 defeat of British wildcard Katie O'Brien on Monday.

Clijsters and compatriot Justine Henin-Hardenne, both former world number ones, missed last year's tournament while world number one Lindsay Davenport was not fully fit.

Russian teenager Maria Sharapova took full advantage of a weakened draw then, blazing through to the final where she outclassed an off-form Serena Williams.

However, with all the big guns fit and healthy this year, Clijsters believes there could be fireworks in store.

"I feel very lucky to be part of Wimbledon 2005," said 15th seed Clijsters, who returned from a career-threatening wrist injury to win back-to-back in Indian Wells and Miami this year.

"Having Serena, Venus, Justine and myself all back competing is fun. Also for the public it's great. I want to watch a lot of other matches myself while I'm here.

"I think this is the most interesting year. Everybody is here apart from Jennifer [Capriati], everybody is hungry. I think it's great to see.

"I just hope I can get myself into a position to play some of those big matches which are all part of Grand Slams."

There was no chance of Clijsters, fresh from winning the Eastbourne title on Saturday, slipping up against the 19-year-old O'Brien, who sits more than 300 places below her in the WTA rankings.

Playing well within herself, she broke twice to take the first set and served out the match after a single break midway through the second.

"Today wasn't really a test because she's a girl that doesn't give you any rhythm," Clijsters, who is still to win a Grand Slam title, said when summing up her performance.

"I still feel like there is a lot of improvement to do if I want to get back to the level I was at when I won in Miami and Indian Wells.

"There were some good patches today, but I think I need to be a little more consistent."

Clijsters is on course to play top seed Davenport in the fourth round, which would be a repeat of their French Open clash when the Belgian led 6-3, 3-1 before the American stormed back to win the match.


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Sub: Healthy expressions of sporting spirit !

The attitude and sporting spirit of Kim Clijsters is truly amazing. The Belgian tennis star is a fine advertisement for sports. Our best wishes to ...

Posted by Dr. Cajetan Coelho


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