Winning return for Clijsters

Kim Clijsters made a winning return to the professional circuit today with a 6-4 6-3 success against Marion Bartoli of France at the Women's Open in Cincinnati.

Kim Clijsters made a winning return to the professional circuit today with a 6-4 6-3 success against Marion Bartoli of France at the Women's Open in Cincinnati.

The 26-year-old Belgian is back after a lay-off of more than two years, during which time she gave birth to daughter Jada.

The former world number one, who won the 2005 US Open title, survived three break points in her final service game but came back to see off her opponent in straight sets in a match which lasted one hour and 22 minutes.

Clijsters now faces Patty Schnyder of Switzerland after she beat Argentina's Gisela Dulko 6-4 6-0.

Ninth seed Victoria Azarenka progressed to the second round with a 6-3 7-6 (7/2) success against Estonia's Kaia Kanepi and Ana Ivanovic, seeded 11th, overcame a first-set scare to beat American qualifier Melanie Oudin 2-6 6-1 6-1.

The Serb will take on Melinda Czink of Hungary in round two after she defeated Frenchwoman Alize Cornet 6-3 6-2.

Roberta Vinci will take on world number one Dinara Safina in the second round after beating Tatjana Malek of Germany 6-4 6-1.

Venus Williams will be up against Olga Govortsova after the qualifier from Belarus beat Russian Ekaterina Makarova 6-1 6-3 while her sister Serena faces Kateryna Bondarenko of Ukraine, who beat Slovakia's Magdalena Rybarikova today.

Anna-Lena Groenefeld knocked out 16th seed Virginie Razzano 6-3 3-6 6-4 while Lucie Safarova won the all-Czech clash with Iveta Benesova 6-3 7-6 (9/7).

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