Saturday 24 March 2018

Tennis: Clijsters cites confidence dip as cause of surprise Paris tumble

Kim Clijsters blamed a loss of confidence for her stunning second-round defeat to Arantxa Rus at the French Open.

The second seed, who was going for a third consecutive Grand Slam title, looked in control at a set and 5-2 up but she missed two match points -- one at 5-2 and another at 5-4 -- and from there it was all downhill as Rus won 11 of the last 12 games to win 3-6 7-5 6-1.

Asked to explain her dramatic slump, Clijsters said: "I'm still trying to figure that out. I started doubting a little bit. I think, on clay, that is something that for me is definitely the wrong attitude to have."

Clijsters was playing at the French Open for the first time since 2006 and in her first tournament of any kind since March following an ankle injury sustained at a cousin's wedding.

Title hope Maria Sharapova, meanwhile, stared defeat in the face before hitting back to end the plucky challenge of home wild card Caroline Garcia.


Sharapova was down a set and a double break at one stage but hit back to defeat the impressive 17-year-old 3-6 6-4 6-0, winning the last 11 games.

In the men's event, five-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal again looked unconvincing as he booked a place in the third round at Roland Garros with a straight-sets win over fellow Spaniard Pablo Andujar.

Nadal recovered from two sets to one down to beat John Isner in round one having not dropped a single set in his 2010 triumph, and he was similarly lacklustre in his 7-5 6-3 7-6 (7/4) victory over Andujar, having to save eight set points in the third set.

Nadal seized the initiative on Court Suzanne Lenglen by racing into a 0-40 lead in game six and broke Andujar, a winner on clay in Casablanca earlier this season, at the first attempt.

Andy Murray declared his mental game to be in great shape after coming through a tricky test against both Simone Bolelli and the conditions in the second round.

The Italian served for both the first and third sets, but Murray showed his fighting qualities to battle back and secure a 7-6 (7/3) 6-4 7-5 victory on Court Philippe Chatrier.

French Open,

Live, Eurosport, 9.30/4.30

Irish Independent

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