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Ice-cold Kim

Posted: 09 Feb 2011 09:44 PM PST

Clijsters closes in on No 1 ranking

Thursday, February 10th, 2011 13:36:00

PARIS: Kim Clijsters moved within one win of taking the No 1 ranking by rallying to beat Kristina Barrois of Germany 4-6, 6-2, 6-0 in the second round of the Open Gaz de France this morning.

Kim Clijsters

ONE STEP CLOSER: Clijsters just need to win on Saturday to be world No 1

The Australian Open champion just needs to win her quarterfinal match on Saturday to snatch the top spot from Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark. The last time Clijsters held the No 1 ranking was in March 2006.

"It didn't get into my mind," Clijsters said about the idea of recapturing the top spot. "One more match ... It will be tough. There's a couple of tough players who might get through."

Clijsters will play either Jelena Dokic of Australia or Petrova. The top-seeded Belgian got off to a sluggish start, dropping serve twice to give Barrois a 4-0 lead.

She fought back to cut the deficit to 4-3, but Barrois held her nerve, converting her first set point when Clijsters sent a backhand volley into the net.

"She's a tricky player," Clijsters said of Barrois. "She has a game that you don't see that often anymore on the women's tour. In the beginning, I just had to get a feel for it."

Clijsters hit a backhand crosscourt winner in the next set to lead 3-1. She double-faulted to lose on service in the next game but broke Barrois again with another backhand winner for a 4-2 lead, clinching the second set when a forehand from Barrois sailed long.

"I wasn't worried after the first set," said Clijsters, who won this tournament in 2004. "I was sometimes overdoing it a bit ... trying to go for the winners a little bit too fast. But once I got that under control, I felt a lot more confident during the rallies.

"I was trying to be a little more aggressive so that I didn't give her the chance to play me around the court."

Clijsters was in complete control in the final set, although she had to save three break points in the third game. She converted her first match point when a half-volley from Barrois went long.

Meanwhile, Nadia Petrova of Russia, Andrea Petkovic of Germany, Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium and Sofia Arvidsson of Sweden also advanced to the second round of the tournament this morning.

This morning
First round

Nadia Petrova (RUS) bt Virginie Razzano (FRA) 6-1, 6-3; Sofia Arvidsson (SWE) bt Alize Cornet (FRA) 6-2, 7-6 (7-5); Andrea Petkovic (GER) bt Angelique Kerber (GER) 7-5, 3-6, 6-2; Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) bt Elena Vesnina (RUS) 7-6 (7-1), 6-2
Second round
Kim Clijsters (BEL) bt Kristina Barrois (GER) 4-6, 6-2, 6-0

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Murray crashes out

Posted: 09 Feb 2011 09:40 PM PST

Thursday, February 10th, 2011 13:36:00

ROTTERDAM: Andy Murray won three games in 12 minutes before a slow fade at the ATP Rotterdam Open this morning which left the Australian Open finalist a first-round loser to Marcos Baghdatis.

The Cypriot turned the tables in dramatic fashion for a 6-4, 6-1 upset of the second seed who is still nursing wounds from his second consecutive title-match defeat in Melbourne. Murray also admitted that he felt some pain in his left wrist, during the 61-minute disappointment but said he did not think it was a serious matter.

"I need to think about what I need to do to be playing my best tennis by Indian Wells and Miami in March. I started well and then began missing a lot. You need to be very sharp in your movement on this surface."

The world No 5 will hope to play doubles with his brother Jamie at the tournament which he won in 2009. Baghdatis, the 2006 Australian Open runner-up, has now beaten Murray on three of four occasions.

"I always try to fight and find a solution to win, Andy played good at the start, I had to break the rhythm, he began making mistakes and lost concentration," said Baghdatis.

"I finished it off and I'm very happy. He could be tired from Melbourne, when I played the final in Australia, I was in bed for a week, it's tough to come back. I took my chances today, bad luck for him."

In an earlier match, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga won an all-French match to book into the quarterfinal places as he defeated compatriot Michael Llodra 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.

Llodra, the 2008 champion, has now lost all three of his matches with 2008 Australian Open finalist Tsonga. The French winner, who has put together back-to-back wins for the first time in a month, will next play either fourth-seeded Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych or Russian qualifier Dmitry Tursunov.

"It was a tough match," said Tsonga, working to lift a ranking which has sunk to 18th after falling from the Top 10 due to inactivity due to injury in the second-half of 2010.

"Mika is one of the best players on this (indoor) surface. I started well but he played better than me in the first set. I was happy to get the win, it was pretty difficult. "My two previous wins gave me the confidence going in, but I also played well. In the quarterfinals, I can just play my game. I've been getting better with each match this year."

First round

Feliciano Lopez (ESP) bt Florian Mayer (GER) 6-3, 6-4; Mikhail Youzhny (RUS) bt Marcel Granollers (ESP) 6-2, 7-6 (8-6); Benoit Paire (FRA) bt Gilles Simon (FRA) 6-2, 2-6, 6-3; Marcos Baghdatis (CYP) bt Andy Murray (GBR) 6-4, 6-1
Second round
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) bt Michael Llodra (FRA) 4-6, 6-4, 6-2; Marin Cilic (CRO) bt Jurgen Melzer (AUT) 6-2, 6-4; Viktor Troicki (SRB) bt Jarkko Nieminen (FIN) 7-6 (7-4), 7-5

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