Kim Clijsters crashes out of French Open

World number two Kim Clijsters crashed out of the French Open today after an erratic performance saw her downed 6-3, 5-7, 1-6 by the Dutch 114th seed Arantxa Rus.

The 27-year-old seemed confident and disciplined as she eased to take the first set against her opponent who had never played on one of the grandstand courts at any of the majors before.

At 0-3 in the second set it seemed Rus’ experience was set to end sourly, but Clijsters, who was playing her first tournament since March due to an ankle injury, began to show her rustiness and collapsed spectacularly on court.

Rus clawed her way back from 2-5 to take the match to a deciding set and her run of winning 11 out of 12 games saw out the match for one of the biggest Roland Garros shocks in recent memory.

When questioned about her fitness, Clijsters said she was bitterly unhappy with her performance, but said that she was happy with her condition going in to the match.

“I had practised well. Physically everything was fine. I was definitely ready,” said the reigning US and Australian Open Champion. “I’m happy that I gave myself an opportunity. It’s better to try than not to try.

Kim Clijsters


“If I had said: ‘It’s better not to come’, that would be the attitude of a real loser.”

Rus was understandably delighted with the victory, which was the greatest of her career.

“I just wanted to go for every point. I’d like to play every day like this,” said Rus, who had only previously won one match this year. “It was my biggest win. She is my hero. I played fantastic tennis. I was a little nervous as it was my first time on the stadium. When I faced match points, I thought ‘just go for it’. I was more aggressive in the second set.”

British number one Andy Murray was luckier as he progressed through to round three in straight sets while never looking his best against Italy’s Simone Bolelli.

A scrappy encounter never quite got going in the blustery conditions as Murray won through 7-6(3), 6-4, 7-5 and he now awaits either France’s Arnaud Clement or Germany’s Michael Berrer in round three.

The world number 126 showed glimpses of talent but was far too inconsistent with his shot selection and was a real disappointment with his serve, handing Murray points with various double faults.

Yet the Scot’s serve was little better for much of the encounter and he let Bolelli off the hook on a few occasions before settling in to rhythm and outclassing a man ranked in the Top 40 only two years ago.

Swedish fifth seed Robin Soderling is also through. He made short shrift of Spain’s Albert Ramos and saw his match out 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 on Court Suzanne Lenglen before record-breaking Chinese star Li Na emerged to battle to victory over Silvia Soler-Espinosa 6-4, 7-5.

Fernando Verdasco needed four sets to see off Belgium’s surprise package of 2011 Xavier Malisse. The world number 40’s fight had flickered out a little towards the end, though, as the 16th seed triumphed 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(5), 6-1.

Tenth seed Mardy Fish is also through after a straight sets win over Dutch ace Robin Haase while Germany’s Andrea Petkovic followed suit in the women’s draw after comfortably outclassing Lucie Hradecka.

Argentina’s Leonardo Mayer surprised Marcos Baghdatis 7-5, 6-4, 7-6(6) while Britain’s Elena Baltacha has lost at the second hurdle, giving up a set lead to go down 6-4, 1-6, 4-6 to American Vania King.

American 24th seed Sam Querrey has also fallen at the second hurdle, losing to the Croatian Ivan Ljubicic 6-7(2), 4-6, 4-6.