Tennis Prose



Clijsters Loses Another Heartbreaker To Hsieh In Chicago

The comeback of former world no. 1 Kim Clijsters has been an unmitigated disaster.

The lastest flop by the Belgian happened yesterday in Chicago. With another wildcard gift, the 38 year old powered her way to a 3-love lead on Su Wei Hsieh but then lost seven games in a row. Clijsters found her groove again and prevailed in the second set and competed well to deep in the third set but inevitably lost again 16 75 63. Hsieh survived by withstanding Clijsters baseline assaults and getting the extra balls back which produced the fatal misses.

“Aussie Kim” decided to try her hand at pro tennis again after eight years of inactivity and raising three children, by getting a wildcard into Dubai 2020. She lost to Muguruza 62 76. Then another loss in Monterey to Konta 63 75.

Kim played World Team Tennis last summer in Greenbriar, WV and won all five of her singles matches, beating the likes of Sloane Stephens, Bernarda Pera, Olga Govortsova, Danielle Collins, Sofia Kenin. But those match wins counted for nothing in the WTA.

Kim got another wildcard into the US Open 2020 and lost another heartbreaker to Ekaterina Alexandrova 36 75 61. The pattern was clear, Kim was competitive in each match, but she simply broke down and choked when it came time to finish the job. She can’t close the show anymore like she used to.

Clijsters did not get a wildcard into this year’s US Open.

But Chicago was more generous. Kim could taste the blood of victory and had Hsieh in the ropes at 3-3 in the third but then the sloppy errors came and Hsieh escaped with the win.

Clijsters gave a quick, friendly smile at the handshake but this loss had to be torturous for her again. It’s the same old result, play hard, play well, strike the ball like the good old days, get into the winning position and then fail because of errors.

Kim is not just doing this for fun and kicks, she is very serious about becoming a WTA force again and believes she can rediscover her A game and beat the new generations. She travels with a full team of three male coaches and physios, who like her, wear all black attire. Team Kim has an all business demeanor and energy, they are not taking this comeback lightly.

Kim still plays with the steely focus and trademark tenacity. She can still blast the ball all over the court and unleash awesome winners without the aid of any grunting. But Kim is overweight now, a good dozen or two or three pounds over her prime playing weight.

Though she moves surprisingly well despite the weight handicap – she obviously has trouble with the wide balls and the next ball after returning a wide ball. And her lack of confidence from not winning any WTA matches shows in the pressure moments. She tends to rush the point and go for the winner early, which usually ends up with an aggressive error.

A lot of misses by an inch or two here and there. Those were her old margins during her prime years. But she can’t hit her targets like she once did.

Credit to Clijsters for continuing to persevere with her pro career and possessing the self belief that she will find the timing and precision to once again win matches like the one she lost yesterday to Hsieh, who said after she was happy she didn’t have to play the Kim of ten years ago.

Kim Clijsters, who was world no. 1 in singles and doubles (in 2003) and won four Grand Slam singles titles (and two more in doubles) can’t turn back the clock but she can keep trying to chase the feeling of joy and ecstasy of winning WTA professional tennis matches. She won 41 WTA singles titles.

Four WTA wildcards have produced four first round losses but each one has been competitive and two were three-setters. So close yet so far away.

Kim will play doubles with Kirsten Flipkens in Chicago.

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  • trefa · October 5, 2021 at 4:58 pm

    Please learn how to report tennis scores properly.

    “Kim … lost another heartbreaker to Ekaterina Alexandrova 36 75 61.” If Kim lost, that score, as written, does not make sense. Since Kim is the primary reference, her score should be reported first.

    “She lost to Muguruza 62 76.” Then the score should be reported as 26 67.

    “Then another loss in Monterey to Konta 63 75.” Then report the score as 36 57.

    Get my point?

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 5, 2021 at 9:25 pm

    Trefa, yes I do get confused and change my mind on whose score to say first. I have been struggling with this for years. Sorry for the confusion and inconvenience.



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