Clijsters Is Back On Top




Kim Clijsters

Kim Clijsters

Belgian Kim Clijsters gained the WTA number one ranking for the third time in her career with a 6-3, 6-0 quarter-final win over Australian Jelena Dokic Friday at the Paris Indoor event.

Clijsters, a four-time Grand Slam winner, will take over the number one position from the Dane Caroline Wozniacki on Monday, ending the controversy of top-ranked players earning the spot without winning a major title.

Wozniacki had followed Dinara Safina and Jelena Jankovic as a number one without a Grand Slam crown dating to 2008.

“I am very happy to be number one again,” said Clijsters, a mother of one, who quit the game in 2007 to have a child and then returned to win 2009 and 2010 US Opens and the Australian title a fortnight ago.

“I hope I can also win the tournament maybe.”

The experienced Clijsters, who first moved into the top spot in 2003 and did it again in 2006, said the moment was “a nice feeling but it does not change anything for me personally.”

Progress At Paris:

After losing the first four games against world number 78 Barrois on the hardcourt, the top seed’s hopes of such success looked bleak with her serve erratic and forehand often long.

Clijsters pulled herself out of the rut by reeling off a string of winners but a drive volley into the net cost her first set.

Barrois continued to trouble her more illustrious opponent with a cunning sliced backhand but her confidence gradually drained as Clijsters upped the tempo and lifted the crowd out of their early state of shock.

“In the second set I got it together and in the third set I just tried to keep the pressure on,” Clijsters said courtside.

Andrea Petrovic, the sixth seed, also struggled against fellow German Angelique Kerber in a first-round tie before prevailing 7-5, 3-6, 6-2 while Belgium’s Yanina Wickmayer dispatched Elena Vesnina 7-6, 6-2 in one hour 35 minutes.

The modest home crowd in the French capital tried to cheer on Alize Cornet but Sweden’s Sofia Arvidsson progressed to the second round of the $618,000 tournament 6-2, 7-6 after the Frenchwoman had a long medical time-out for a thigh problem.

Second seed Maria Sharapova, who has skipped media commitments because she is feeling unwell, is scheduled to play American Bethanie Mattek-Sands in the second round on Thursday.

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