Monday 23 October 2017

Tennis: Clijsters cruises after shaking off 'first day of school' nerves

Kim Clijsters compared her Wimbledon comeback to a first day at school after teaching Maria Elena Camerin a lesson in the first round at SW19.

Clijsters, making her first competitive appearance at Wimbledon in four years after coming out of retirement last summer, swaggered to a 6-0 6-3 win over her unseeded Italian opponent.

Rather like Wimbledon's new Court Two, which opened to general acclaim last year and played host to Clijsters' return, the two-time semi-finalist has seen many changes since her last outing at the championships in 2006.

Since suffering defeat in the semi-finals against fellow Belgian Justine Henin four years ago, Clijsters has married basketball player Brian Lynch and given birth to a daughter, Jada.

But the changes in her personal life have done nothing to dilute the importance she placed on her return to the All England Club.

"I was pretty nervous leaving the locker-room and going out on court again," the 27-year-old revealed. "I guess you can probably compare it going to your first day of school after a school holiday. It's like excitement, curious, and a lot of emotions."

French Open champion Francesca Schiavone made a swift Wimbledon exit on day one of the tournament.

The Italian, who turns 30 tomorrow, was a shock winner at Roland Garros earlier this month but her grasscourt pedigree was questionable.

It was perhaps no great surprise to see her blow a one-set lead as she lost 6-7 (0/7) 7-5 6-1 to former junior champion Vera Dushevina.

The Italian, seeded fifth after her heroics in Paris, lost the first set but after losing a tight second collapsed in the decider out on Court Two.

There were also victories yesterday for Henin, Jelena Jankovic and Venus Williams, who lost two service games in an otherwise convincing triumph over Paraguay's Rossana de los Rios.

Perhaps mindful of the fading light, Williams sped to a 5-0 lead after 15 minutes of the first set before recovering from a minor slump to claim it 6-3.

Williams also won the first five games of the second set before eventually ending the contest with a 6-2 success.

Irish Independent

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