Jan. 24 • Kim has reached the quarterfinals of the Australian Open, after defeating Ekaterina Makarova 7-6(3) 6-2.
She may be many people's favourite to win the title and, in the absence of any Australian players, she may be the darling of the Australian crowd ― everyone loves Aussie Kim ― but as Kim Clijsters was keen to point out after reaching her sixth quarterfinal at the Open, she is not Superwoman.
Then again, Kim does not to dive in a telephone box or twirl on the spot in order to reveal her super powers; she merely needs to pick up a racquet and set her sights on a major trophy. Armed with that racquet, she squashed the spirited challenge of Ekaterina Makarova 7-6, 6-2 as the clock ticked past midnight and looked mightily relieved when she had finished.
'I think she's a tricky player', Kim said. 'She's played very well this week. We don't play too many lefthanders and you really have to have a different mind-set when you play her, especially on the returns. But I played well. It was a fun match. She gives you a lot of rhythm ― she's a good player.'
It all began so easily for Kim. In the twinkling of an eye, she was two games to the good allowing her Russian rival just one point along the way. But then Makarova shook off her nerves and got to work. She matched Kim from the baseline and then started bossing her about. This was not the way a world No.3 ought to be treated, but Makarova did not care.
Only in the tiebreak did Kim finally manage to pull rank. She allowed the Russian just three points as she secured the first set and from there on, Aussie Kim was in charge. Cutting down on the unforced error count - only nine of her 24 mistakes were committed in the second set - she made sure that Makarova could find no way back. All in all, it was a good night's work for Kim.
Given that it took her seven years to win her first major title (the US Open in 2005 ) she has been winning them to a band playing since she came out of retirement in 2009. Two more US Open titles have been added to the collection and since she walloped Dinara Safina in the opening round here, she has been leading the charge for the title in Melbourne Park. All this and she is a working mum, taking two-year-old Jada with her wherever she travels.
'I'm not Superwoman', she said, smiling from ear to ear. 'Look, I probably have the fullest box of anyone. I have a nanny, a great team around me. We are all a great bunch of friends and we take it as a great adventure, ever since I came back. I hope I can make it continue for a while longer.'
The adventure will resume on Wednesday when Clijsters takes on Agnieszka Radwanska for a place in the semifinals.