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Saturday, June 11, 2011

Who is Kim Antonie Lode Clijsters?

Who is Kim Antonie Lode Clijsters? The professional tennis world know Kim Clijsters as a Belgian professional tennis player. As of 23 May 2011, Clijsters is ranked No. 2 in singles and is a former World No. 1 in both singles and doubles.

Clijsters is the reigning singles champion at the US Open and the Australian Open. She has also won 41 WTA singles titles and 11 WTA doubles titles. She has won four Grand Slam singles titles: three at the US Open, in 2005, 2009 and 2010 and one at the Australian Open in 2011. She has also been runner-up in four Grand Slam singles tournaments, and won the WTA Tour Championships singles title in 2002, 2003 and 2010. In doubles, she won the French Open and Wimbledon titles in 2003. Clijsters announced her retirement with immediate effect on 6 May 2007,[2] but almost two years later, on 26 March 2009, she publicly declared her intent to return to the WTA tour for the 2009 summer hard court season.[3] In only her third tournament back, she won her second US Open title, becoming the first unseeded player and wildcard to win the tournament, and the first mother to win a major since Evonne Goolagong in 1980.[4]

Personal life

Clijsters was born on 8 June 1983, in Bilzen, Limburg, in the Flemish Region of Belgium. She is the daughter of Lei Clijsters, a former international footballer, and Els Vandecaetsbeek, a former national gymnastics champion. Lei Clijsters died of skin cancer on 4 January 2009.[7] Clijsters says that she inherited footballer's legs from her father and a gymnast's flexibility from her mother.[8] Kim's younger sister Elke finished 2002 as the ITF World Junior Doubles champion and retired in 2004 after back injuries.
In December 2003, Clijsters announced her engagement to Australian Lleyton Hewitt, but their relationship ended in October 2004.[9] Clijsters is still affectionately nicknamed "Aussie Kim" by Australians. In October 2006, Clijsters announced her engagement to American basketball player Brian Lynch, who is based in Clijsters' hometown of Bree. In an interview with Sportweekend (a sports programme on Belgian Flemish television), Clijsters said that she was retiring to start a family.[2] Clijsters and Lynch married privately on 13 July 2007, at 6 am at the Bree city hall. She was married by the mayor, with sister Elke, Lynch's brother Pat Lynch, and both sets of parents present.[10]
Clijsters gave birth to a daughter on 27 February 2008, at 1:35 pm at the Vesalius hospital in Tongeren, Belgium. The girl, Jada Ellie, weighed 3.035 kg and measured 51 cm.[11]

Playing style

Clijsters is recognized for her deep, powerful, well-placed groundstrokes. She can hit outright winners off both wings and from any part of the court. Her forehand is one of the best and most powerful the women's game has ever seen, yet occasionally erratic and prone to unforced errors; her backhand is more reliable and consistent, and can be hit with heavy slice as a defensive shot. Clijsters is also recognised for her all-court defence, characterized by speed and athleticism. Clijsters, along with Jelena Janković and Svetlana Kuznetsova, is among the few tennis players on either the Association of Tennis Professionals or Women's Tennis Association tours who can slide (or "straddle") on all surfaces.[5] Maria Sharapova, interviewed after losing to Clijsters in the 2005 Nasdaq-100 Open, said, "You just have to expect that she's going to get every ball back".[6] Her first serve, while not overwhelming, is placed well and earns aces and unreturnables. Clijsters tends to rush between first and second serves, which may contribute to her occasional matches with high numbers of double faults. A former World No. 1 player in doubles, Clijsters has exceptional volleys; she has no problem switching from baseline to finishing points at the net with a volley or over-head. Her mental fragility was considered her biggest weakness, and at the earlier stages of her career she was considered a "choker", often surrendering big leads in the latter rounds of Grand Slams. Since winning the 2005 US Open, Clijsters has gained more control over her nerves and since her return to the tour in 2009 she has been known, along with Serena Williams, as among the toughest players to beat mentally. She is now seen as capable of rising to the occasion and playing her best tennis at the important stages of matches. Clijsters is also considered to be one of the most popular players on the tour, known for her grace on the court and even temper. She has been voted the WTA Karen Krantzcke Sportsmanship Award by her fellow players seven times and the WTA Player Service Award three times.

Tennis career

Junior career

Clijsters was an accomplished junior player. In singles, she finished as runner-up in the 1998 Wimbledon junior event,[12] finishing 11th in the year-end singles ranking.[13] In the same year in doubles, Clijsters won the French Open title with Jelena Dokić defeating Elena Dementieva and Nadia Petrova in the final[14] as well the US Open with Eva Dyrberg defeating former partner Dokic in the final.[15] Clijsters ended the season as number four in the International Tennis Federation junior doubles world ranking.[13]

1999

In 1999, Clijsters made her breakthrough professionally. At her first WTA tournament in Antwerp, she qualified and lost to the eventual finalist Sarah Pitkowski-Malcor in the quarterfinal after failing to convert a matchpoint. Playing through the qualifying rounds at Roehampton, only after four others had dropped out, she made it through the main draw of Wimbledon.[16] Clijsters won six matches in a row while only losing 25 games. She defeated tenth ranked Amanda Coetzer en route to the fourth round, during which Clijsters lost to her childhood idol[17] Steffi Graf in straight sets, in difficult rainy circumstances.[16] Later that summer, Clijsters reached the third round of the US Open, losing to eventual champion Serena Williams after serving for the match. In the autumn, Clijsters won her first Women's Tennis Association (WTA) singles title at Luxembourg. She followed up with her first WTA doubles title at Bratislava, partnering Laurence Courtois. At the end of the year, she was granted the WTA Most Impressive Newcomer award, the only Belgian player to have received this trophy.

2000–2002

Clijsters climbed up the rankings over the next couple of years. In 2001, she reached her first Tier I final at the tournament in Indian Wells, California, losing to Serena Williams in a match overshadowed by controversy. Clijsters also reached her first Grand Slam final at the French Open, where she lost to Jennifer Capriati 12–10 in the third set. This two-hour, 21-minute match featured the longest third set in a French Open women's final. Clijsters was four times within two points of winning before Capriati prevailed. Her next important breakthrough came at the end of 2002, when she won the year-end Home Depot Championships in Los Angeles, defeating top ranked Serena Williams in the final. This was only the fifth defeat of the year for Williams and snapped her 18-match winning streak. On her way to the final, Clijsters defeated fourth ranked Justine Henin and second ranked Venus Williams, becoming just the fourth player to beat both of the Williams sisters in the same event. She also equaled the event's record for the fewest games dropped.

2003

Clijsters started her season at the Adidas International, where she won her first tournament of the year defeating Lindsey Davenport in straight sets in the final.[18] Clijsters reached the final after defeating Patty Schnyder,[19] Chanda Rubin[20] and Justine Henin.[21] At the Australian Open, Clijsters lost in the semi-final to Serena Williams 4–6, 6–3, 7–5 after holding 5 match points.[22][23] On the way to the semis Clijsters lost just fifteen games beating Samantha Reeves[24] and completing a double bagel (wherein the opposing player fails to win a single game) against Petra Mandula.[25] Then continuing to win in straight sets against Tatiana Poutchek,[26] Amanda Coetzer and Anastasia Myskina.[27] and at the Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells, California, where she defeated Lindsay Davenport in the final.
Clijsters reached the final of the WTA German Open after defeating Jennifer Capriati 6–4 in the final set.[28] In the final she played Justine Henin and squandered three match points as Clijsters lost the final set 7–5.[29] To compound the day Clijsters also lost the doubles final 6–4 in the final set.[30]
Clijsters’ third title of the year came at the Telecom Italia Masters in Rome, where she defeated Amélie Mauresmo in the final,[31][32] white washing the Frenchwoman in the final set. After Clijsters had defeated Myskina[33] and doubles partner Ai Sugiyama to make the final.[34]
At the French Open Clijsters’ reached the final for the second time in three years after defeating Nadia Petrova.[35] In the final Clijsters lost 6–0, 6–4 to Henin[36] at the US open, 7–5, 6–1. She also lost in the semi-final at Wimbledon to Venus Williams after leading by a set and a break. On 11 August 2003, Clijsters attained the World No. 1 ranking, holding the spot for 12 non-consecutive weeks during the remainder of the year, and was the first player to be top ranked by the WTA without first winning a Grand Slam singles title.
On 18 August 2003, Clijsters also attained the World No. 1 ranking in doubles, joining a very select group of only four players of Martina Navratilova, Arantxa Sánchez Vicario, Martina Hingis and Lindsay Davenport having reached the World number one ranking in singles and doubles simultaneously. By 2010, only Serena Williams has managed to join this group.
The World No. 1 ranking was again at stake in October during the final of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Filderstadt, Germany. Clijsters rallied from a set down to beat Henin. The match marked only the eighth time that the top two players battled for the top ranking.[37] Even though Clijsters won that match, she finished the year ranked World No. 2, just behind Henin.

2004

Clijsters started 2004 by playing in the Hopman Cup. During the tie against Australia, Clijsters injured her ankle against Alicia Molik.[38] Clijsters was on crutches for a few days and feared she may need surgery. Clijsters pulled out of the Adidas International due to the injury[39] Clijsters did recover in time to reach her fourth career Grand Slam final at the Australian Open, where she lost once more to Henin.[40] After defeating in straight sets Marlene Weingärtner, Maria Elena Camerin (With a double bagal),[41] Dinara Safina,[42] Silvia Farina Elia,[43] Anastasia Myskina (during the match Clijsters aggravated her ankle injury)[44] and Patty Schnyder to reach the final. Clijsters then won two consecutive titles in Paris and Antwerp. In Paris Clijsters defeated local favourite Mary Pierce in the final.[45] To reach the final Clijsters defeated Maria Sanchez-Lorenzo,[46] Farina Elia[47] and Safina.[48] In Antwerp. While defending her Tier I title at the Pacific Life Open Clijsters injured her wrist during her win against Angelika Roesch, in her first match. Clijsters withdrew ahead of her second match with the injury being described as a bruised bone.[49] Clijsters withdrew from the event in Miami the next week[50] Clijsters then appeared six weeks later in her home town of Bree to play in a Fed Cup tie against Croatia[51] winning both of her rubbers. Clijsters returned to the tour in Berlin and needed three sets to see off Marta Marrero[52] Clijsters then pulled out of her second match and then was told to rest for five weeks causing her to miss the French Open.[53] Clijsters then had surgery to remove a cyst causing her to miss three months of the tour including Wimbledon and the US Open.[54][55] Clijsters also missed the Olympics, but she had already decided not to play the tournament after a dispute about clothing sponsors.[56] Clijsters returned at the Gaz de France Stars[57] she made the semi finals defeating Iveta Benešová[58][59] and Magdalena Maleeva;[60][61] before pulling out in the second set against Elena Bovina.[62][63] Clijsters had aggravated the injury and although she did not need surgery, she was out for the rest of the season.[64] As well she played down fears that the injury may force her retirement from tennis.[65]

2005

Clijsters missed the first Grand Slam of the year, the Australian Open with injury.[66] In February, after four months out, Clijsters returned to the tour by participating in Antwerp, her first match back was against Jelena Kostanić. Clijsters won in straight sets[67] before losing to Venus Williams in the quarter-finals.[68][69]
Clijsters, completed her comeback in March and April, when she won, as an unseeded player, 17 matches in a row to claim two Tier I titles and regain a top-20 ranking. At the Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells, California, Clijsters was ranked World No. 133 at the time. The Belgian began by beating Nicole Pratt,[66] Shinobu Asagoe,[70] Anna Chakvetadze[71] and Evgenia Linetskaya[72] all without dropping a set. In the semi final Clijsters defeated World No. 5 Elena Dementieva in straight sets[73] and World No. 1 Lindsay Davenport in the final in three sets.[74] The week after that win, Clijsters defeated four top-6 players in straight sets to win the NASDAQ-100 Open. To win the title Clijsters defeated Sandra Kloesel,[75] Amy Frazier,[76] Nathalie Dechy,[77] Anastasia Myskina,[78] Elena Dementieva, Amélie Mauresmo[79] and Maria Sharapova[80] going the whole tournament without dropping a set.
Turning her attention to clay, Clijsters’ winning streak continued at the J&S Cup. Clijsters defeated Tatiana Perebiynis,[81] Maria Kirilenko,[82] and Elena Bovina. Against Bovina Clijsters’ picked up a minor shoulder injury.[83] Clijsters’ 17 match winning streak was finally ended by Svetlana Kuznetsova.[83] Playing next at the WTA German Open Clijsters defeated Yuliana Fedak[84] and Dinara Safina in straight sets before hurting her right knee[85] and retiring against Patty Schnyder.[86] Clijsters recovered in time to play the French Open.[87] Playing in the French Open for the first time in two years Clijsters defeated Meilen Tu,[88] Cervanová and Daniela Hantuchová[89] to advance to the fourth round where she lost to Davenport.[90]
Starting her grass court season at the Hastings Direct International Championships, Clijsters got off to the best possible start by winning the tournament. Clijsters defeated Jelena Janković,[91] Conchita Martínez, Mashona Washington,[92] Kuznetsova[93] and Vera Dushevina to claim her third title of the year.[94] At Wimbledon Clijsters defeated Katie O'Brien,[95] Marissa Irvin[96] Roberta Vinci[97] before facing Davenport in the last 16 for the second slam running. The result was the same as the French Open with the American winning.[98]
After Wimbledon Clijsters went on an amazing run of form where she lost just once between July and October. Clijsters’ run began at the Bank of the West Classic against Ai Sugiyama,[99] and defeated Hantuchová,[100] Anna-Lena Grönefeld and Venus Williams to win her fourth title of the year.[101] Clijsters’ streak continued in San Diego as she defeated Marta Domachowska[102] and Janković[103] before suffering her one and only defeat in this run to Shuai Peng.[104]
After the defeat to Peng, Clijsters continued the run as she went on an amazing winning streak, winning twenty two matches in a row, collecting four straight titles along the way, including her maiden Grand Slam title. The twenty two match streak started against Karolina Šprem[105] and victories over Safina, Nadia Petrova,[106] Francesca Schiavone,[107] saw Clijsters collect her fifth title of the year.[108] The streak continued in Toronto as Clijsters beat Virginie Razzano,[109] Ana Ivanović (Via a Walkover),[110] Flavia Pennetta,[111] Anastasia Myskina[112] and Justine Henin-Hardenne to win the Rogers Cup.[113] After winning three of her four US Summer Hard court tournaments, Clijsters won the US Open Series, which links all the US summer hard courts together and doubles the winners prize money at the US Open. Giving Clijsters a chance to double the $1.1 million US Open winners prize to $2.2 million.[114]
Clijsters won her maiden Grand Slam singles title at the US Open. It was her first victory after reaching four Grand Slam finals previously. Clijsters started by defeating Martina Müller,[115] Fabiola Zuluaga,[116] Ai Sugiyama[117] and María Vento-Kabchi[118] in straight sets to reach the quarter finals. Where Clijsters defeated tenth-seeded Venus Williams in the quarter-finals 4–6, 7–5, 6–1, winning 11 of the last 13 games after Williams had led 6–4, 4–2.[119] Clijsters also needed three sets to defeat top-seeded Sharapova in the semi-final.[120] At the fifth attempt Clijsters won a Grand Slam final defeating Mary Pierce in straight sets. By winning the US Open Series Clijsters doubled her US$1.1 million in prize money she received for winning the US Open, to US$2.2 million.[121][122] The pay check was the largest payday in women's sports history.[123]
On 15 September, a week after her US Open victory, it was announced that Clijsters and her coach, Marc Dehous, had parted company, which was due in part to her paying him only $9,000 of her $2,200,000 US Open winnings.[124][125]
Clijsters’ rich vein of form continued as she extended her streak to 21 wins, even without a coach at the Fortis Championships. Clijsters beat Klara Koukalová,[126] Schiavone,[127] Dechy and Lena Groenefeld all without dropping a set to win her eighth title of the year.[128] The title was Clijsters’ fourth consecutive title.[129] At the Porsche Grand Prix Clijsters defeated Šprem[130] for her twenty second consecutive match win before Dementieva ended the streak.[131]
Clijsters then won her ninth and final tournament of the year at the Gaz de France Stars, defeating Schiavone in the final, to go the whole tournament without dropping a set.[132] Clijsters defeated Ekaterina Bychkova,[133] Šprem,[134] Julia Schruff[135] and Safina[136] to make the final.
At the year-ending Sony Ericsson Championships, Clijsters was eliminated in the group stage. Clijsters lost her first match, a rematch of the US Open final, to Pierce 6–1, 4–6, 7–6[137] and her second match to Mauresmo 6–3, 7–6. This left the Belgian needing to win and hope that the results in the other matches went her way.[138] Although results did not go her way and Clijsters was eliminated with one match still to play.[139] Clijsters finished her season by defeating Dementieva, in straight sets.[140] Ending the year ranked World No. 2.

2006

Clijsters started the year by winning an exhibition tournament, the Watson Water Challenge, in Hong Kong. On her way to the title she defeated Jie Zheng, Elena Dementieva, and top ranked Lindsay Davenport. Clijsters then withdrew from her semi-final match at the WTA tournament in Sydney, citing a left hip muscle strain.
At the Australian Open, Clijsters defeated former champion Martina Hingis in the quarter-finals 6–3, 2–6, 6–4 before retiring from her semi-final match with Amélie Mauresmo. Despite the loss, the ranking points she accumulated were enough to regain the World No. 1 ranking, a position she last held on 9 November 2003. She was the first tennis player, male or female, to rise from outside the Top 100 (World No. 134) to World No. 1 in less than a year. Clijsters' loss to Mauresmo in the Australian Open semi-final was due to an ankle injury. Although she had been expected to miss at least eight weeks to recover, Clijsters returned two weeks later at the Proximus Diamond Games in Antwerp. She lost the final of that tournament to Mauresmo in three sets.
Clijsters won her first title of the year at a clay court event in Warsaw, defeating Svetlana Kuznetsova in the final. At the French Open in May, Clijsters reached the semi-final without losing a set, defeating Hingis in the quarter-finals 7–6, 6–1. However, she lost to Justine Henin in the semi-final 6–3, 6–2 on her 23rd birthday. She was seeded second going into Wimbledon but was again eliminated in the semi-final by Henin, also in straight sets, 6–4, 7–6(4).
Clijsters collected her second title of the year as the top seed in Stanford, defeating Patty Schnyder in the final. Clijsters then reached the final in San Diego, falling to second-seeded Maria Sharapova in straight sets. This was her first loss to Sharapova in five career meetings.
On 16 August, after receiving a first round bye at the Tier I Rogers Cup in Montreal, Clijsters faced Canadian Stéphanie Dubois in the second round. Having won the first set 6–1 and trailing 2–3 in the second set, Clijsters slipped and fell on her left wrist and was forced to retire from the match. On 18 August 2006, Clijsters announced on her official website that the condition of her wrist was worse than she had expected and that she would be unable to defend her title at the US Open. She also missed the Fed Cup final against Italy, which Italy won 3–2.[141]
Playing in Paris at the Gaz de France Stars tournament, her first event in more than two months, Clijsters successfully defended her title by beating qualifier Kaia Kanepi in the final. At the year-ending WTA Tour Championships, Clijsters lost a semi-final to Mauresmo 6–2, 3–6, 6–3 after defeating Dementieva and Kuznetsova and losing to Sharapova in the round robin phase of the tournament.

2007: Retirement

2007 was to be Clijsters’ final year on tour as she had planned in 2005 to retire at the end of the 2007 season.[142] Clijsters started the year by winning an exhibition tournament, the Watson Water Challenge, in Hong Kong. On her way to the title, she defeated Zheng Jie, Patty Schnyder, and top ranked Maria Sharapova. Clijsters then won the Medibank International in Sydney, defeating Nicole Pratt,[143] Shahar Pe'er,[144] Li Na and[145] Jelena Janković to claim the title after being match point down in the final.[146]
At the Australian Open Clijsters was the fourth seed. The Belgian started by giving a double bagal to Vasilisa Bardina before going on to defeat Akiko Morigami,[147] Alona Bondarenkoand[148] Daniela Hantuchová[149] in straight sets. Clijsters then defeated sixth seed Martina Hingis in three sets[150] before losing to Sharapova in the semi-finals.[151]
Clijsters next played in Belgium for the final time at the Proximus Diamond Games after pulling out of the Open Gaz de France with a hip injury.[152] When Clijsters said that she was fit she hinted that she may miss the French Open.[153] Clijsters reached the final of the Diamond Games losing to Amélie Mauresmo.[154][155][156] Defeating Olga Poutchkova,[157] Ana Ivanović[158] and Tatiana Golovin[159] while on the way to the final without dropping a set.
After this event Clijsters confirmed that she would miss the French Open[160] and US Open, making Wimbledon her last Grand Slam event. The Belgian also added that her last two tournaments would be in Luxembourg and at the WTA Tour Championships in Stuttgart.[161][162]
At the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida, Clijsters lost in the fourth round to Li Na in three sets.[163] After beating Akiko Morigami[164] and Sam Stosur.[165] A month later in her first clay tournament of the year, at Warsaw Clijsters failed to defend her title when she lost to Julia Vakulenko 7–6(3), 6–3.[166]
On 6 May 2007, citing injuries, Clijsters announced on her official website that she was cutting short her season and bringing forward her plans to retire from professional tennis. Clijsters decided to retire immediately from the sport.[167]

2009: Comeback

Almost two years after her retirement and one year after the birth of her daughter in February 2008 it was announced that Clijsters, along with Tim Henman, Steffi Graf and Andre Agassi, would play an exhibition event on Wimbledon's Centre Court in May, in order to test the new roof on centre court.[168]
While preparing for the exhibition at Wimbledon, Clijsters called a press conference on the 26 March and then announced that she was returning to professional tennis. She said that she had been inspired when preparing for the Wimbledon roof event during January 2009. Clijsters stated that she had asked for wildcards for the Cincinnati and Toronto tournaments.[169] Additionally, Clijsters had also asked for a wildcard at the US Open, after which she planned to evaluate the comeback in terms of success and the feasibility of combining it with her family life. Clijsters also stated that she preferred to think of it as a "second career" instead of a comeback, because so many factors (marriage, a baby, the recent death of her father) were different compared to her first career.[170]
At the Wimbledon exhibition Clijsters and Henman won 7–6 in a tiebreak against Graf and Agassi.[171] Clijsters also played a singles rubber against Graf, winning 6–4.[172] Clijsters said at the event she had been practicing for a month from January and had started to feel good again at the start of February, then Wimbledon was confirmed and that is what pushed her to commit to pro tennis again.[173] In July, she won both of her doubles matches with the St. Louis Aces of World Team Tennis.[174]
Clijsters started her second career at the Western & Southern Financial Group Women's Open in Cincinnati, following the acceptance of her wildcard. She defeated World No. 13 Marion Bartoli in the first round 6–4, 6–3.[175] In her next two matches, she defeated World No. 20 Patty Schnyder 6–2, 7–5 and World No. 6 and reigning French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova 6–4, 4–6, 6–2. In the quarterfinals, she lost to World No. 1 Dinara Safina 6–2, 7–5.
Following Cincinnati Clijsters played at the Rogers Cup in Toronto on another wildcard. She defeated British qualifier Elena Baltacha in the first round. In the second round, she defeated World No. 9 Victoria Azarenka 7–5, 4–6, 6–1 but lost to World No. 4 Jelena Janković in the third round 1–6, 6–3, 7–5, after serving for the match at 5–3.
She then received a wildcard to play in the main draw of the US Open. She easily won her first round match over Viktoriya Kutuzova 6–1, 6–1. She won her second round match, defeating World No. 14 Marion Bartoli for the second time in three weeks 5–7, 6–1, 6–2. She then defeated compatriot Kirsten Flipkens 6–0, 6–2 in the third round. She went on to upset World No. 3 Venus Williams in the fourth round 6–0, 0–6, 6–4.[176] This was only Clijsters' 11th competitive match since coming out of retirement. Clijsters beat 18th seed Li Na in straight sets 6–2, 6–4 to reach the semi-finals where she faced defending champion and World No. 2 Serena Williams, winning 6–4, 7–5 after Williams was given a point penalty on match point after a dispute with an official over a foot fault call.[177] Clijsters became the first unseeded finalist at the US Open since Venus Williams in 1997, and the first wildcard to ever reach the US Open final. With her victory over Serena, Clijsters became the only player to have beaten both Williams sisters in the same tournament twice. In the final she defeated ninth seed Caroline Wozniacki 7–5, 6–3 to win her second US Open title.[178] Her US Open victory placed her in the top 20 in the world rankings. She also became the first Wild Card champion in US Open history and the first mother to win a Grand Slam title in the Open era since Evonne Goolagong Cawley won Wimbledon in 1980. Clijsters is popularly known as one of the "comeback queens" of tennis.[179] Clijsters then received a wildcard to play at the 2009 BGL Luxembourg Open in Luxembourg, as the second seed. She eased through her opening match 6–2, 6–2 against Meghann Shaughnessy but fell to Patty Schnyder in a close second round encounter 4–6, 6–3, 6–7.[180]
Playing an exhibition match in Antwerp, Belgium on 10 December, Clijsters defeated rival Venus Williams 6–1, 7–5.[181] She finished the year ranked 18th.
In March 2010, Clijsters won her first Laureus World Sports Award, for her remarkable 2009 US Open comeback. She also won the WTA Comeback Player of the Year and the Karen Krantzcke Sportsmanship Award for the seventh time.

2010

Clijsters started her 2010 campaign at the Brisbane International in Australia as the top seed. She defeated Tathiana Garbin[182] and Alicia Molik[183] in the first two rounds without dropping a set. She then defeated Lucie Šafářová in three sets[184] to advance to the semifinals where she defeated Andrea Petkovic to set up a final with her rival and compatriot Justine Henin.[185] Clijsters led 6–3, 4–1 before Henin to win eight consecutive games to take the second set and lead 3–0 in the final set. Clijsters trailed 5–3 saved two match points before breaking back and forcing a final set tie break defeating her rival 6–3, 4–6, 7–6(6).[186]

Clijsters' next tournament was the 2010 Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of the season where she was seeded 15th. Clijsters advanced to the third round with straight sets wins over Valérie Tétreault[187] and Tamarine Tanasugarn.[188] In the third round Clijsters lost to the World No. 20 Nadia Petrova winning just one game in the worst defeat of her career.[189]
Clijsters did not play competitively again until March at the 2010 BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. She was seeded 14th but she fell to the 23rd seed Alisa Kleybanova in the third round losing a final set tie break.[190] Clijsters found form at the 2010 Sony Ericsson Open as she went on to win the title. As the 14th seed, she only dropped three games while defeating Petra Kvitová[191] and Shahar Pe'er.[192] Clijsters then defeated the defending champion Victoria Azarenka for the loss of just four games.[193] Before defeating the World No. 10 Samantha Stosur in the quarter-finals[194] and Justine Henin in a final set tie break to reach the final.[195] Clijsters went on to beat Venus Williams in straight sets in the final, ending the American's fifteen match unbeaten streak. As a result of winning the title for the second time, Clijsters' ranking rose to World No. 10.[196]
Playing her first clay tennis match in three years at the Andalucia Tennis Experience as the third seed, Clijsters advanced to the second round after beating Alexandra Dulgheru in three sets. However in the second round Clijsters lost to the World No. 258 Beatriz García Vidagany.[197] Clijsters played in Belgium's Fed Cup tie against Estonia, Clijsters defeated Maret Ani 6–4, 6–2 in her opening singles match. However, it was discovered that she had torn a muscle in her left foot which caused her to pull out of her next match against Kaia Kanepi. Doctors ruled the Belgium out for six weeks but Clijsters hoped to make an early recovery[198] She later announced in a press conference that she would have to withdraw from the rest of the clay court season, including the 2010 French Open.[199]
Clijsters returned to action at the start of the grass-court season in Eastbourne as part of her Wimbledon warm-up where she was victorious in 2005. Clijsters, as the fifth seed, defeated compatriot Yanina Wickmayer and Šafářova[200] to reach the quarter finals losing just three games. Before losing in straight sets to Victoria Azarenka.[201] Despite this loss Clijsters’ ranking rose to World No. 8 and she was seeded 8th at her first Wimbledon Championships since 2006. She started well with a straight sets wins over Maria Elena Camerin,[202] Karolina Šprem[203] and Maria Kirilenko[204] to set up a fourth round clash with 17th seed Justine Henin. Clijsters came back from a set down to beat Henin 2–6, 6–2, 6–3.[205] Clijsters lost in the quarterfinals to 21st seed and eventual finalist Vera Zvonareva in three sets.[206]
In between Wimbledon and the US hard court season, Clijsters participated in the record breaking Best of Belgium- an Exhibition extravaganza. Clijsters defeated Serena Williams in straight sets, improving her head-to-head record since her comeback against the Williams Sisters to 5–1. (3–1 against Venus who won against Clijsters at the Billie Jean Cup 2010, 2–0 against Serena)[207]
Clijsters played her next event at the 2010 Western & Southern Financial Group Women's Open held in Cincinnati where she made her comeback the previous year. This was her first event of the 2010 US Open Series. After a first round bye, Clijsters, as the 4th seed, defeated former World No.1 Dinara Safina,[208] Christina McHale[209] and Flavia Pennetta[210] in straight sets to reach the semi-finals. In the semi-finals, Clijsters was leading 2–1 when her opponent, Ana Ivanović, had to retire due to a foot injury.[211] In the final, Clijsters faced 10th seed Maria Sharapova and after losing the first set, Clijsters found herself down 5–3 in the second set. She managed to save three championships on her own serve before rain interrupted play. Clijsters came back to take the second set into a tie-break and despite being down 0–3, she came back to win the second set and then went on to claim a 2–6, 7–6(4), 6–2 victory.[212] This win propelled her ranking to World No. 4[213] with her 38th singles title of her career
Clijsters played her final event of the US Open Series in Montreal at the 2010 Rogers Cup where she was seeded 5th. She reached the quarterfinals before losing to Vera Zvonareva in three sets. After coming back from 6–4, 4–1 down in the opening round to defeat Bethanie mattek Sands.[214]
Clijsters then competed in the 2010 US Open where she was the No. 2 seed. Clijsters advanced to the quarter finals without dropping a set defeating Gréta Arn, Sally Peers, Petra Kvitová and Ana Ivanović. There Clijsters came from a break down in the third set to defeat 5th seed Samantha Stosur 6–3 in the final set to advance to the semifinals. In the semis Clijsters faced Venus Williams winning the match in the final set to extend her US Open match winning streak to 20.[215] Tying with Venus and Monica Seles but second only to Chris Evert's 31-match winning streak from 1975–1979. In the final, Clijsters faced seventh seed Vera Zvonareva in a rematch of their Wimbledon quarterfinal meeting. Clijsters won only dropping three games on the way, to defend her US Open title, winning it for the third time; and her second as a mother, one short of the Open Era record held by Margaret Court. Clijsters extended her US Open winning streak to 21 matches. By winning US$2.2 million, she equalled her own 2005 record of the largest payday in women's sports history. Injury then kept Clijsters out until the WTA Championships. At the year-end championship, Clijsters advanced to the final, after defeating Janković[216] and Azerenka to qualify for the semi final. Clijsters lost her final group game to Zvonareva.[217] In the semi finals Clijsters beat Stosur in straight sets after surviving a car crash which wrote the car off whilst on her way to the match.[218][219] In the championship match Clijsters faced world #1 Caroline Wozniacki in a rematch of the 2009 US Open final. Clijsters finished the year at world #3 after defeating the Dane in three sets, to clinch her third WTA Championship and fifth title of the year.[220] Clijsters finished the year ranked #3 in the world.[221] Clijsters final match of 2010 was a repeat of what the Best of Belgium should have been, a match against Justine Henin. The match took place at the Diamond Games in front of a Belgium crowd. Clijsters came out the winner winning the match tie breaker 10–5.[222]
For her performance during the season, Clijsters received the WTA Player of the Year award for the second time (first one in 2005), the first player ever to win this award in the year following the win of the Come Back Player of the Year.

2011


Clijsters' first competitive outing of the year was the Medibank International Sydney in Australia. In the first round, Clijsters defeated Alexandra Dulgheru in two sets, 6–1, 6–2. She then defeated Barbora Záhlavová-Strýcová, Victoria Azarenka and Alisa Kleybanova to advanced to the final where she was defeated by World No. 11 Li Na from China, 7–6(3), 6–3, despite leading 5–0 in the first set.[223]
Clijsters started her strong campaign at the 2011 Australian Open at Melbourne Park as the tournament's favorite with an emphatic 6–0, 6–0 victory over former World No. 1 Dinara Safina in the first round. This was the first time in tennis' open era that a former World No. 1 player received a double bagel loss in a grand slam tournament. Clijsters then defeated Carla Suárez Navarro 6–1, 6–3 and Alizé Cornet 7–6(3), 6–3, before winning a fourth-round match against Russia's Ekaterina Makarova 7–6(3), 6–2. In the quarterfinals, Clijsters continued her progress without dropping a set by beating the twelfth seed Agnieszka Radwańska 6–3, 7–6(4).
She comfortably defeated World No. 2 Vera Zvonareva 6–3, 6–3, guaranteeing her accession to World No. 2, her highest ranking since her return to the tour. Clijsters won the 2011 Australian Open singles by beating Li Na 3–6, 6–3, 6–3;[224] It was her first major win outside the US and her fourth overall. Clearly emotional, Clijsters declared that she finally had earned the title "Aussie Kim".[224]
Clijsters next traveled to play at the indoor tournament in Paris. After defeating Jelena Dokić in the quarterfinals, Clijsters returned to the top of the WTA rankings for the first time in almost five years, overtaking Caroline Wozniacki.[225] Clijsters eventually progressed to the final of the competition, but was beaten by third seed Petra Kvitová in straight sets, 6–4, 6–3.
Up next for Clijsters was the Indian Wells Masters in California, where she was seeded 2nd. After receiving a bye in the first round, she faced Alla Kudryavtseva of Russia and defeated her comfortably, 6–2, 6–0. In the third round, she beat the Italian Sara Errani in three sets, 6–3, 2–6, 6–4. Clijsters had to retire in her next match against Marion Bartoli at 6–3, 1–3 with a shoulder injury.
Clijsters was the defending champion at Miami and the No. 2 seed. After defeating Anastasiya Yakimova 6–1, 6–2 and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez 6–4, 4–6, 6–3 in the second and third round, respectively, she came back from 1–5 0–40 in the final set against Ana Ivanovic in the fourth round, winning the match 7–6(4), 3–6, 7–6(5). She eventually lost in the quarterfinals to Victoria Azarenka in straight sets, 6–3, 6–3.
On 21 April 2011, Clijsters was elected number 16 on the Time Top 100 list of most influential people, the first sports person on the 2011 listing. Her sportsmanship, involvement in charity, success as a mother combined with her anti-diva no-nonsense attitude led to her election.[226]

Coaches

  • 1992–1996: Bart Van Kerckhove
  • 1996–2002: Carl Maes
  • 2002–2005: Marc Dehous
  • 2009–present: Wim Fisette

Records

2001

  • Clijsters became the first person from Belgium to reach a Grand Slam singles final in the Open Era.

2003

  • Clijsters became not only the first Belgian—man or woman—to be ranked World No. 1, but also did so without winning a Grand Slam tournament. Clijsters is one of only six women to have been ranked World No. 1 in singles and doubles simultaneously (the others being Martina Navratilova, Martina Hingis, Serena Williams, Arantxa Sánchez Vicario and Lindsay Davenport).[227]
  • Clijsters compiled a 90–12 singles record. Her singles win total was the highest single-season total by any woman since Navratilova in 1982.[227] Clijsters was the first woman to play more than 100 singles matches in a year since Chris Evert in 1974.[227]

2005

2006

  • In returning to the World No. 1 ranking after the Australian Open in January, Clijsters broke a rankings record. She was ranked as low as World No. 134 in March 2005, so her return to the top spot in a ten-month span was the fastest and biggest leap in women's tennis history.[citation needed]

2009

  • Third unseeded and first unranked female champion of a Grand Slam title by winning the 2009 US Open. Clijsters also became the first mother to win a major since Evonne Goolagong Cawley won the Wimbledon title in 1980, and the first mother to win the US Open since Margaret Court in 1973. She defeated Danish Caroline Wozniacki 7–5, 6–3 in the US Open final.
  • Returned to WTA rankings at number 19, equaling the highest debut ever that was set by Andrea Jaeger in 1980.
  • Won the WTA Come Back Player of the Year trophy despite only playing three months effectively.

2010

  • First woman to retain the US Open title since Venus Williams in 2001.
  • Second woman in the Open Era to win three successive US Opens in which she played (she did not play in the 2006, 2007 and 2008 tournaments). Chris Evert won four U.S. Open Championships in a row:(1975–1978)and two additional titles in 1980 and 1982 for a total of six U.S. Opens. Martina Navratalova reached the final after two successive wins in 1985, but lost the third final to Hana Mandlíková. Steffi Graf reached the finals after two consecutive wins in 1990, but lost the third final to Gabriela Sabatini.
  • 21 consecutive US Open match victories, second all-time to Chris Evert's 31 from 1975–1979.
  • Third woman to win two Grand Slams as a mother, one shy of the record by Margaret Court.
  • Repeated her own 2005 feat of earning a women's sport record paycheck of approximately US$2.2 million by winning the US Open, after ending the US Open Series as second after Caroline Wozniacki.
  • Won the Masters (WTA Tour Championships) for the third time joining a very select group of players, consisting of Martina Navratilova, Monica Seles, Chris Evert and Steffi Graf.
  • Broke the US$20 million mark in career prize money at the same Masters.
  • Became WTA year prize money leader with more than US$5 million in earnings
  • First player ever to win the WTA Player of the Year Award in the year following the win of the WTA Come Back Player of the Year trophy (see also 2005) Both Serena Williams (2004–2008) and Amélie Mauresmo (2003–2006) became Player of the Year after having been the Comeback Player of the Year but they did not achieve this feat in consecutive years.
  • Became most time winner of the Karen Krantzcke WTA award for fair play (7)

2011

  • Inflicted the first time ever double bagel loss at a Grand Slam since the start of the open era on a former World No. 1 player – Dinara Safina – during the first round of the Australian Open.
  • By becoming Australian Open champion, completed a consecutive winning string of the four most important hardcourt tournaments within a year: Miami Masters ("The Fifth Slam") 2010, US Open 2010, WTA Tour Championships 2010 and the Australian Open 2011. Steffi Graf (November 1987–1988 ) and Monica Seles in 1991 had accomplished this series before.
  • Equalling the record of Margaret Court of winning three Grand Slams as a mother
  • Received for the third time a women's sport record paycheck of approximately US$2.2 million by winning the Australian Open
  • Became number 1 in the WTA rankings for the fourth time in her career on 14 February 2011 after the 2011 Open GDF Suez in Paris, nearly five years after being at the #1 spot in early 2006. It is also the first time Clijsters is number one in the same calendar year of winning a Grand Slam.
  • Became the first mother to hold the number 1 ranking since the inception of the computer rankings in 1975.
  • Ranked 16 on the Time Top 100 list of most influential people, the first sports person on the 2011 listing.

Awards

Clijsters is considered by her peers as one of the most likeable players on tour. This, combined with her accomplishments on court, has earned her numerous citations:
1999
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2009
2010
2011

Career statistics

Singles

Tournament 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 Career SR Career W-L
Australian Open A A A 1R 4R SF SF F A SF SF A A 3R W 1 / 9 38–8
French Open A A A 1R F 3R F A 4R SF A A A A
0 / 6 22–6
Wimbledon A A 4R 2R QF 2R SF A 4R SF A A A QF
0 / 8 29–8
US Open A A 3R 2R QF 4R F A W A A A W W
3 / 8 37–5
Grand Slam W–L 0–0 0–0 8–2 2–4 17–4 11–4 22–4 6–1 13–2 14–3 5–1 0–0 7–0 13–2 7–0 4 / 31 126–27
WTA Tour Championships A A A QF SF W W A RR SF A A A W TBD 3 / 7 19–7

 


 





 

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