13 Feb 2011


FEB. 13 • It would have been a great way to celebrate the No.1 ranking but Kim didn't manage to claim the title at the Paris Open GDF Suez, losing to a solid Kvitova 4-6 3-6.

Kim, who had won her last 12 matches in a row (a stretch that included herAustralian Open title run), is now 41-19 in career finals on the WTA. She will rise to No.1 on Monday, her 20th career week at the top of the rankings, but first in almost five years (her last stint there ended in March 2006).


FEB. 13 • Just a quick update to let you know that Kim will play her final match at the Paris Open GDF Suez against Petra Kvitova at 2.30pm, local time.

12 Feb 2011


FEB. 12 • Kim didn't come to Paris just to take back the No.1 ranking, she came to win the Open GDF SUEZ. The Belgian, whose quarterfinal win over Jelena Dokic Friday secured her a return to No.1 come Monday, survived Kaia Kanepi Saturday, 6-1 7-5, to reach the final of the Premier event.

Kim, the No.1 seed, cruised through the first set and was in all sorts of trouble in the second set, falling behind two breaks and 1-4, even facing set point at 4-5; but she closed Kanepi out, winning six of the last seven games.

Awaiting our Belgian in the final will be No.3 seed Petra Kvitova, who rebounded after a pair of marathons in her last two rounds and cruised past the unseeded Bethanie Mattek-Sands, 6-2 6-0.


FEB. 11 • Kim's semifinal opponent will be the Estonian Kaia Kanepi, who has defeated Dominika Cibulkova in yesterday's last quarterfinal match.
The semi will be played second, around 3.30pm, local time.

11 Feb 2011


FEB. 10 • Kim made an emphatic return to No.1, starting slowly against Jelena Dokic then absolutely steamrolling (6-3 6-0) to reach the semis of the Open GDF SUEZ and secure herself the top spot come Monday.

It is not clear whether or not Caroline Wozniacki was in front of the TV this evening, but the Danish youngster will have to hand over her crown to Kim after the Belgian's impressive win over Jelena Dokic. Kim, who became world number one for the first time in her career back in 2003, regains her throne after a five-year absence. With daughter Jada proudly watching on, Kimmy became the first mother to reach the top of the WTA rankings.

It goes without saying that, given the circumstances, this was no ordinary match. Kim said at the beginning of the week that the number one spot was not a priority, and she was second best in the early stages of the match. The Belgian was broken in her first service game and trailed 3-0 to Dokic, playing fiercely and with a hunger to win every point. However, qualifier Dokic, competing in her sixth match of the week, started to make too many unforced errors. Showing remarkable composure, Kim devoured points and pounced on her Australian opponent like a predator on its prey. Within the space of 15 minutes, she found herself 4-3 up against the former world number four.

By snuffing out the challenge of such an aggressive opponent in just a few seconds, Kim showed the mark of a true champion. The 5-0 score line was fast becoming a humiliation for Dokic, a player who had performed so heroically all week. A few world-class strokes hinted that she is deserving of a higher ranking than her current 120, but for the most part she was reduced to a spectator. The scoreline was fast becoming uncomfortable and the Stade Coubertin crowd began to show their sympathy and get behind Dokic. Ultimately, it made little difference and Kim proved simply unplayable. The Belgian stormed through the remainder of the match, racking up twelve games in a row on her way to winning 6-3 6-0 in 51 minutes. 

With the Tina Turner hit 'Simply the Best' ringing out, Kim received a commemorative trophy from Amélie Mauresmo, herself a former world number one. 'Thank you, I will try in French,' Kim said as she addressed the crowd. 'I'm really happy to become the new world number one here. It's not Belgium but it's pretty close. The last time I became world number one was in Los Angeles, so it's good to do it here in Europe.'


FEB. 10 • Kim's quarterfinal opponent is now known; the Australian Jelena Dokic has defeated Nadia Petrova tonight in Paris. It'll be the 10th career meeting between both players (Kim leads 6-3), and their last encounter dates back to... 2003. This will be the first evening match, played at 7.30pm, local time.

10 Feb 2011


FEB. 9 Kim is now one win away from regaining the No.1 ranking, after scoring a three-set win over Kristina Barrois on Wednesday (4-6 6-2 6-0).

Kim, currently No.2, came out slowly against the 78th-ranked Barrois, losing the first four games and eventually the first set. But she got back on track, needing just 53 minutes from there on for a 3-set victory. The Belgian won the last nine games of the match and 17 of the last 19 points.

'I knew it would take time to get into the rhythm and get the feel for the ball', Kim said. 'Slowly I got into the match and started being more aggressive. It's nice to be in Paris. I love the court here and the crowd is so welcoming.'

In the quarterfinals, Kim will face either No.5 seed Nadia Petrova or qualifier Jelena Dokic, who play their second round match on Thursday. Dokic won her first round match against Lucie Safarova on Tuesday; Petrova rolled past French wildcard Virginie Razzano on Wednesday.

If Kim beats Petrova or Dokic on Friday, she will return to No.1 next week.

9 Feb 2011


FEB. 9 • The Fed Cup tie between Belgium and USA has barely come to end that Kim will already be back in action next week, as she's lined up to play the Open GDF Suez in Paris. The draw was revealed earlier this Sunday so have a look for yourselves!

As the tournament No.1 seed, Kim has got a 1st round bye and will not come into action before Tuesday or even Wednesday, in a 2nd round match where she'll face Barrois. The match should take place around 5.30pm, local time.
Other players Kim might face in the tournament include Safarova, Petrova, Cibulkova, Kvitova, Petkovic and Sharapova.

6 Feb 2011


FEB. 6 •  On an emotionally charged afternoon in Antwerp’s Sports Palace, Kim not only booked Belgium’s place in the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group semifinals by defeating Mattek-Sands 6-7(10) 6-2 6-1 but also got her hands on a replica trophy for winning the 2001 competition.

A decade after Kim, Justine Henin, Els Callens and Laurence Courtois beat Russia for Belgium’s first Fed Cup title, the quartet were reunited with team captain Ivo Van Aken in a special presentation on court before the first reverse singles.

Having just been forced back into retirement by injury, Justine Henin was given a heartfelt reception and spoke of her mixed emotions being here but no longer able to represent her country.

Thereafter, it was left to Kim to hold court and the way she started against Bethanie Mattek-Sands suggested she might ease Belgium through. But the match then took on a different complexion as the American, who had pushed Kim hard for three sets when they met on tour last year, threatened to do so again.

Playing better than she had on Saturday against Yanina Wickmayer, Mattek-Sands fought admirably to come back from an early break, opening up the court with her powerful forehand and often finishing the point well at the net. And in the first set tiebreak she saved three set points before clinching it 12-10 on her third.

Once Kim took control of the second set, though, there was little doubt that the world No. 2 would ultimately go onto win, and after more than two hours play she did so 6-7(10) 6-2 6-1, agreeing afterwards that she had been made to work hard for it.

'Definitely, but I was expecting that when I came out at the start of the match. I played her a few months ago, and she played a really, really tough match, you know a very high level and she did that in the first set today as well.'

Wickmayer then added icing to the Belgian cake by crushing Melanie Oudin 6-2 6-0 before Liezel Huber and Vania King prevented a total whitewash by beating Belgium’s Kirsten Flipkens and An-Sophie Mestach 6-3 7-5 in the doubles.

A semifinal versus Czech Republic in April is Belgium’s reward, and team captain Sabine Appelmans is delighted to have home advantage again: 'We are very happy to play in Belgium again. It’s so nice to be able to play in front of a home crowd… a great atmosphere and I think it’s going to be the same thing again when we play the Czech Republic, but that’s going to be very tough.'

USA captain Mary Joe Fernandez was left to reflect on their loss: 'Unfortunately we came up against a better team in Belgium. It was really too tough with Kim Clijsters and Yanina Wickmayer, they really were a level above… we had a few openings here and there but we weren’t able to capitalise on them.'

5 Feb 2011


FEB. 5 • The first two rubbers of the Belgium-USA Fed Cup match have been played today and it's 2-0 for the home team, as Yanina Wickmayer and Kim Clijsters have won their first singles matches. 

Kim made a heroic return to her country a week after her Australian Open triumph with a champion’s display against Oudin (6-0 6-4). The 19 year-old had dreamt of playing her idol and was somewhat overwhelmed at the start, winning just two points in the first four games and only seven in the whole of the first set.

Trailing 2-0 in the second set Oudin must have feared a first career double bagel. But having at last got a game on the board she then competed admirably, won three games in a row and gave Kim rather more to think about.

Having said that it wasn’t too long before Kim had created another break and to the delight of her hordes of admirers, Belgium’s best duly served out the match with her third ace.

'It was fun to be out here playing again', said Kim. 'Obviously it’s nice to come here and play here after a win ‘cos the people have been so supportive. I’ve kept them up during the night with the time change with Australia and it’s nice to be back here, but I do look forward to having a few days off.'

Before she does she must at least face Mattek-Sands in Sunday’s first reverse singles, with Wickmayer then due to take on Oudin. But the chances of that latter encounter and an ensuing doubles being ‘live’ rubbers seem very slim indeed.

4 Feb 2011


FEB. 4 • It's Fed Cup time! Belgium will face the United States this weekend in the Sportpaleis of Antwerp. The first match will be between Yanina Wickmayer and Bethanie Mattek-Sands. Kim will then face the young Melanie Oudin in the second match of the day.

On Sunday, Kim will start against Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Yanina Wickmayer and Melanie Oudin will face each other in the last singles match of the weekend. The doubles match should see Huber/King and Flipkens/Mestach face each other.