Emotional exit for Clijsters
Tennis US Open: Belgianís singles career comes to a halt after losing to Robson
Kim Clijsters’ illustrious singles career drew to an emotional close on Wednesday when the former world number one was knocked out of the second round of the US Open by Britain’s Laura Robson.
Robson’s compatriot Andy Murray later made light work of Croatia’s Ivan Dodig to reach the third round but it was the 7-6, 7-6 defeat of Belgian Clijsters that grabbed the attention as the first significant upset of the tournament.
Murray’s 6-2, 6-1, 6-3 second round victory completed the third consecutive night of uncompetitive matches on the showcase Arthur Ashe Stadium. The big names have won six matches in prime time for the loss of only 24 games.
Eighth seed Janko Tipsarevic earlier survived a major scare against Guillaume Rufin to be one of nine men to recover from two-set deficits in the opening round.
Clijsters, the three-time US Open champion, remains in the doubles and mixed doubles but the loss to Robson was her final singles match before she quits the tour to concentrate on family life. She saved two match points in the 12th game of the second set with a searing forehand volley and a huge first serve. The tiebreak was tense as Clijsters fought to extend her career but Robson, the world number 89 playing with fearless aggression and pinpoint accuracy, converted her third match point and it was all over for the 29 year old.
“I have played some of my best tennis here and some of my best matches,” Clijsters said. “It is a place that has inspired me. This feels like the perfect place to retire -- but I just wish it wasn’t today.
“I fought and gave it my all but just wasn’t good enough in the end. “It’s been a great adventure. It’s all been worth it but I’m looking forward to the next part of my life.”
World number one Victoria Azarenka overpowered Belgian qualifier Kirsten Flipkens 6-2, 6-2 before defending champion Sam Stosur recorded a routine 6-3, 6-0 win over Edina Gallovits-Hall. Russia’s third seed Maria Sharapova trounced Lourdes Dominguez Lino 6-0, 6-1.
Elsewhere in the men’s draw, fourth-seeded David Ferrer disposed of Kevin Anderson 6-4, 6-2, 7-6 and local hope John Isner won a high-quality clash with Xavier Malisse 6-3, 7-6, 5-7, 7-6. Ernests Gulbis defeated 21st seed Tommy Haas 3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 7-5, 6-3 and Gilles Muller snuck home for a 2-6, 3-6, 7-5, 7-6, 7-6 defeat of 28th seed Mikhail Youzhny.
US Open results
Men’s singles: Second round: 3-Andy Murray (Gbr) bt Ivan Dodig (Cro) 6-2, 6-1, 6-3.
First round: Bradley Klahn (US) bt Jurgen Melzer (Aut) 4-6, 6-3, 7-5, 5-7, 6-4; Ryan Harrison (US) bt Benjamin Becker (Ger) 7-5, 6-4, 6-2; 19-Philipp Kohlschreiber (Ger) bt Michael Llodra (Fra) 7-6 (7-2), 4-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-1; 7-Juan Martin Del Potro (Arg) bt Florent Serra (Fra) 6-4, 7-6 (7-4), 6-4; Steve Johnson (US) bt Rajeev Ram (US) 6-3, 7-6 (7-5), 6-3; Ernests Gulbis (Lat) bt 21-Tommy Haas (Ger) 3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 7-5, 6-3; Tommy Robredo (Esp) bt 26-Andreas Seppi (Ita) 6-1, 7-5, 6-3; 13-Richard Gasquet (Fra) bt Albert Montanes (Esp) 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-3; Gilles Muller (Lux) bt 28-Mikhail Youzhny (Rus) 2-6, 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (8-6), 7-6 (8-6); 4-David Ferrer (Esp) bt Kevin Anderson (SA) 6-4, 6-2, 7-6 (7-3); 9-John Isner (US) bt Xavier Malisse (Bel) 6-3, 7-6 (7-5), 5-7, 7-6 (11-9); Lleyton Hewitt (Aus) bt Tobias Kamke (Ger) 4-6, 6-2, 6-1, 6-4; Benoit Paire (Fra) bt Grigor Dimitrov (Bul) 5-7, 6-3, 7-6 (7-4), 6-2; Leonardo Mayer (Arg) bt Lukasz Kubot (Pol) 6-4, 6-4, 7-5; Jarkko Nieminen (Fin) bt Mikhail Kukushkin (Kaz) 6-0, 6-2 (retd); 8-Janko Tipsarevic (Srb) bt Guillaume Rufin (Fra) 4-6, 3-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-2; Brian Baker (US) bt Jan Hajek (Cze) 6-3, 6-4, 6-2.
Women’s singles (second round): 3-Maria Sharapova (Rus) bt Lourdes Dominguez Lino (Esp) 6-0, 6-1; 11-Marion Bartoli (Fra) bt Romina Oprandi (Sui) 6-2, 1-6, 7-5; 7-Samantha Stosur (Aus) bt Edina Gallovits-Hall (Rom) 6-3, 6-0; Laura Robson (Gbr) bt 23-Kim Clijsters (Bel) 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-5); Anna Tatishvili (Geo) bt Sorana Cirstea (Rom) 6-7 (5-7), 6-1, 6-2; Kristina Mladenovic (Fra) bt 17-Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (Rus) 6-1, 6-2; 9-Li Na (Chn) bt Casey Dellacqua (Aus) 6-4, 6-4; 5-Petra Kvitova (Cze) bt Alize Cornet (Fra) 6-4, 6-3; Mandy Minella (Lux) bt Kristyna Pliskova (Cze) 6-4, 6-4.