Williams, Clijsters make triumphant returns - Pakistan Today

Williams, Clijsters make triumphant returns

Former world number ones Venus Williams and Kim Clijsters made triumphant returns to the WTA after long layoffs with victories on Wednesday at the WTA and ATP Miami hardcourt tournament. Seven-time Grand Slam champion Williams, who has not played a WTA event since pulling out of last year’s US Open, defeated Japan’s Kimiko Date-Krumm 6-0, 6-3 in 77 minutes. “It was great to be back out there,” Williams said. “It was definitely a bit nerve-wracking… but I was able to get a great start and settle in and play well against a really difficult opponent. It was definitely an ideal start.”
Williams announced at last year’s US Open she had been diagnosed with the auto-immune disorder Sjogren syndrome, an illness that saps her energy and causes pain in her joints. “Just to be in this tournament is a huge win for me,” Williams said. “That’s what I told myself going in, that this is a win. I have nothing to lose. I just tried to get in the tournament. There were a lot of tournaments I didn’t make.” Williams, who did play doubles for the US Fed Cup team last month, pulled out of last year’s US Open after a first-round victory. “At this point in time it’s important for me to play smart,” Williams said. “I’m an attacker. That’s what I do best and that’s what I tried to do today. I don’t have the time to give any points away. I have to stay really focused on my game plan.
“The good thing is I’m playing well. I know how to play, so I haven’t lost any steam in that, the fact that I can play tennis. That’s comforting for me.”
Belgium’s Clijsters, playing for the first time since her Australian Open semi-final loss to World No. 1 Victoria Azarenka, rallied to eliminate Australia’s Jarmila Gajdosova 4-6, 6-1, 6-0. “It’s always tough to get that first match rhythm under your belt,” Clijsters said. “When it comes down to my game I felt I wasn’t quite going through my shots as I should have. “I was just trying to find that rhythm, but on the other hand maybe forgetting to still play aggressive tennis. But as I started to feel more comfortable with the conditions and being in a match situation again I was hitting better, and that definitely showed in the second and third sets.” Clijsters, who won at Miami in 2005 and 2010, skipped last week’s Indian Wells tournament to rest her injured ankle, the latest in a list of ailments in the past year that has also included a bad shoulder, wrist and abdomen worries.



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