Clijsters resumes Sydney winning ways after four years away

Sunday, January 9, 2011

SYDNEY - Kim Clijsters returned to the Medibank International for the first time since her 2007 title, posting a runaway defeat of Romania’s Alexandra Dulgheru 6-1, 6-2 to start her campaign for a trophy hat-trick Sunday.

The rout in 62 minutes left three-time US Open champion Clijsters with a good start to the official WTA season after playing a holiday exhibition in Thailand. The Belgian will next face the winner from a match between two-time Russian quarter-finalist Nadia Petrova or a qualifier.

Clijsters said her work on serving has paid off as she dropped just six points on the shot during the brief match. “I focussed on placing my serves well,” said the champion in 2003 and 2007 in New South Wales. “I did not want to give her a lot of second serves that she could attack.”

Clijsters, seeded third behind world number one Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark and number two Russian Vera Zvonareva, said that a win over Wozniacki in Asia helped kick-start her regular season.

There was more heartbreak for Aussie hard-luck case Jelena Dokic, still not over illness from last week and a first-round victim of Russian double grand Slam winner Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-2, 6-2.

“I am not 100 per cent, but better, still a bit weak,” said the number 138.

The ATP side of the Sydney draw gets started Monday, with Argentine comeback candidate Juan Del Potro facing a first-round match with Spanish sixth seed Feliciano Lopez. American Sam Querrey heads the field with the top seeding.

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