Champion Clijsters gaining momentum in US Open defence

Champion Clijsters gaining momentum in US Open defence

Reigning champion Kim Clijsters insisted her game was still a work in progress despite easing into the third round of the US Open with a 6-2 6-1 victory over Australian Sally Peers.

Clijsters has lost just eight games so far at Flushing Meadows but admitted there was plenty of room for improvement after dropping her serve twice against qualifier Peers.

The 27-year-old Belgian, who won the title 12 months ago in only her 14th match and third tournament since coming out of retirement, also managed to get just 51% of her first serves in and committed 21 unforced errors.

“I just had to find my footing again a little bit,” said Clijsters, who is seeded second this year behind Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki, the player she beat in last year’s final.

“I felt as the match went on I got to read her game a bit better and moved a bit better, but I still have a little further to go before I play my best tennis.”

Earlier on the third day Serbia’s Ana Ivanovic revealed she feels close to rediscovering the form which made her world number one after also cruising into the third round.

Ivanovic dropped just five games in beating Ekaterina Makarova in the opening round and lost just three today as she thrashed China’s 21st seed Jie Zheng 6-3 6-0.

The 22-year-old, who has dropped to 40th in the world rankings due to injuries and a loss of form, had lost two of her previous three matches against Zheng, including at Wimbledon in 2008 when Zheng was ranked 133rd and Ivanovic number one.

“I remember a couple of years ago when I was here and I was saying, even though I’m number one I don’t feel I’m playing as number one,” Ivanovic said.

“But now I feel like I’m playing like a top-10 player, I have confidence that I can beat these players. That’s huge for me.”

Third seed Venus Williams was pushed all the way by Canadian qualifier Rebecca Marino, the two-time champion eventually recording a 7-6 (7/3) 6-3 victory.

Williams will face another qualifier in the third round after Mandy Minella, the world number 185 from Luxembourg, dispatched 32nd seed Tsvetana Pironkova for the loss of just four games.

“It was challenging, not just with the conditions, but also my opponent. She served so well and mixes up her shots,” Williams said. “It seemed like every time I had an opening she came up with a big serve, so I guess I know what it’s like now playing myself.”

Elsewhere, French Open champion Francesca Schiavone, the sixth seed, hammered Maria Elena Camerin 6-2 6-1, while 24th seed Daniela Hantuchova came from a set down to beat American Vania King 5-7 6-3 6-4.

Number 12 seed Elena Dementieva had an easier time in seeing off Austria’s Sybille Bammer 6-3 6-4, while 20th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova also advanced to the third round with a 6-2 6-4 win over India’s Sania Mirza.

But former Wimbledon finalist Marion Bartoli, the 13th seed, lost in straight sets to fellow Frenchwoman Virginie Razzano, who will play Ivanovic in the third round.

Fifth seed Samantha Stosur, runner-up in the French Open this year, also advanced with a 6-1 6-4 victory over fellow Australian Anastasia Rodionova.

More on this topic

Nadal to face Medvedev in US Open final after straight-sets winNadal to face Medvedev in US Open final after straight-sets win

US Open day 12: Nadal sets sights on 19th grand slam titleUS Open day 12: Nadal sets sights on 19th grand slam title

US Open day 11: Serena takes a step closer to tying Court’s recordUS Open day 11: Serena takes a step closer to tying Court’s record

Nadal ousts Cilic as potential showdown with Federer loomsNadal ousts Cilic as potential showdown with Federer looms

More in this Section

Limerick's Paul Browne retires from inter-county hurling Limerick's Paul Browne retires from inter-county hurling

From the special one to the smiling one – a look at Jose Mourinho’s unveilingsFrom the special one to the smiling one – a look at Jose Mourinho’s unveilings

Disparities in sports grants allocated to clubs in middle-class and working-class areas Disparities in sports grants allocated to clubs in middle-class and working-class areas

Spurs can win Premier League title next season, says MourinhoSpurs can win Premier League title next season, says Mourinho


Lifestyle

Sorting out Cork people for ages...Ask Audrey: Is it still ok to just lob the gob after 10 pints?

Nip those winter ailments in the bud with the help of garden bounty. Fiann Ó Nualláin shows you how.Have a berry merry Christmas with the help of garden bounty

Dig a planting hole around three times the size of its pot and around the same depth, loosening the soil around the hole.Your quick guide to planting trees

The early morning routine is always the same. I get up, have a quick breakfast before helping my brother, who I live with, get his kids ready for school.Working Life with Dr Muslim Moula Buksh

More From The Irish Examiner