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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 January 2006, 06:58 GMT
Clijsters defies pain to seal win
Kim Clijsters
Kim Clijsters played through the pain of a hip injury to beat South Korean Yoon Jeong Cho 6-3 6-0 in the opening round of the Australian Open.

The second seed suffered the injury in a warm-up tournament last week and was a major doubt heading into Melbourne.

Clijsters said the injury limited the power of her strokes, hampered her serve and prevented her moving freely.

"It was actually worse at the end but I got through, that's the most important thing," said the 22-year-old Belgian.

Clijsters, runner-up in 2004, said the injury forced her to avoid running down some balls.

Hopefully I can stay positive and things won't be too bad on Wednesday
Kim Clijsters

"I can't, it hurts a lot," she said. "There's moments where it hurts, there's moments where it doesn't, so I have to protect it."

She will cut back on her practice sessions during the first week of the event to avoid aggravating the injury.

"I don't want to risk anything," she said. "I don't want to go out there practising for half an hour and then going into the match and feeling that practice was too much, I'd rather save my energy."

Clijsters, joint-favourite for the title, will play China's Meng Yuan in the second round.

"Hopefully I can stay positive and things won't be too bad on Wednesday because it wasn't physically too tough today. That's the positive thing about this match," she added.




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