Australian Open

Clijsters into last 16

2012-01-20 11:58
Kim Clijsters (AP)

Melbourne - Defending champion Kim Clijsters reached the fourth round of the Australian Open by beating Slovakia's Daniela Hantuchova in straight sets on Friday.

Clijsters edged a close first set before running away with the second to win 6-3, 6-2 on the Hisense Arena.

It was the Belgian's first match on Melbourne Park's secondary court since she had a meltdown against Nadia Petrova two years ago and lost 6-0, 6-1 in 52 minutes, her heaviest ever defeat at a grand slam.

"I wanted to play well, to really focus and not let that happen again," she said on Friday. "I think it made me focus a bit more."

Clijsters was not at her best against Hantuchova, whom she last met in Brisbane two weeks ago when a hip injury forced her to withdraw from their semi-final.

The match was closer than the scoreline suggested, with Hantuchova missing a number of chances to put pressure on the defending champion with some simple mistakes.

The 11th seeded Belgian broke Hantuchova five times in the match, but was broken twice herself as she made only 56 percent of her first serves.

Clijsters also made 18 unforced errors in a sometimes sloppy display but was rescued by her ability to smash winners from all over the court, 27 of them compared with 12 from Hantuchova.

"I wasn't playing my best tennis but I fought all the way," Clijsters said.

"I just tried to do my best out there."

Clijsters will next play the winner of the Li Na-Anabel Medina Garrigues match later Friday.


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