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Page last updated at 11:55 GMT, Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Kim Clijsters reaches round two of Australian Open

Australian Open, Melbourne
Venue: Melbourne Park Dates: 17-30 January
Coverage: Watch on BBC TV, Red Button, BBC Sport website (UK only) & Eurosport; listen on BBC 5 live sports extra and online; text commentary online; full details

World number three Kim Clijstersge

Clijsters crushes Safina in Aussie Open first round

Kim Clijsters powered into the second round of the Australian Open and left former world number one Dinara Safina shattered with a 6-0 6-0 victory.

The third seed was too strong, wrapping up victory in only 44 minutes.

World number two Vera Zvonareva enjoyed a trouble-free start to her campaign, outclassing unseeded Austrian Sybille Bammer in straight sets 6-2 6-1.

Fifth seed Samantha Stosur and seventh seed Jelena Jankovic both won but 19th seed Ana Ivanovic was knocked out.

Clijsters made short work of her fellow former world number one, never allowing Safina into the match.

The Russian, who was beaten in the 2009 final by Serena Williams, has seen her world ranking slip to 75 after a back injury and the defeat means she is likely to drop out of the top 100 for the first time since May 2002.

But the Belgian showed no mercy, sending pinpoint forehands to all areas of the court and when Safina did have an opportunity to return, she committed too many unforced errors.

Kim Clijsters
Clijsters is hoping to reach her second Australian Open final

Safina's best chance of winning a game came in the last one, but her attempted winner was buried deep into the middle of the net. Two points later, Clijsters sealed victory, thanks to another Safina error.

"I expect my opponent to come out and play their best tennis," said the Belgian afterwards. "She obviously didn't do that today.

"But my attitude still was there to try and finish it off and not let her get back in the match, build some confidence, build some rhythm."

But Safina, who has won only nine of her last 25 matches since returning from her back injury, was less polite about her performance.

"I was sitting in the changeover, and I was like, OK, at least how can I get a chance to hurt her?," she said.

"Nothing was hurting her, not my backhand, my forehand or my serve. My return, nothing. She was dictating basically from the first point.

"There was nothing that I could do to hurt her. Embarrassing."

The 24-year-old Russian has vowed to try and regain the form that saw her top of the rankings as recently as October 2009.

"I will give my 100% to get back. I will fight. I will go through whatever it takes. But first I want to find answers," Safina added.

"I'm fully motivated. I practised hard. I cannot say that I didn't practise hard but I guess something was not right. I don't know. I have to figure out the answers.

"It's not that I don't want it, I want it. There's no doubt I want to come back and I want to play better. But now I have to find answers how I can come back.

"My returns are not as aggressive as they used to be and maybe I need to serve closer to the lines, I don't know.

"I was putting the pressure on the players. Now it's the opposite and they are putting the pressure on me."

And Clijsters has also given her backing to Safina, who lost 6-0 6-1 to Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli in Hobart last week.

"She just doesn't have that same power that she used to have anymore. She used to have one of the best and most unpredictable backhand down the lines in the game. Now, she just doesn't use it as much anymore.

"I think it's obviously a big matter of confidence so that game is still in her. She didn't get to number one just by luck.

"She just has to win a few matches, win a few tough matches, too, then build some more confidence."

Zvonareva came through a tricky opening service game against Bammer but then cruised to a win in 59 minutes.

The Russian, runner-up at Wimbledon and the US Open in 2010, will now meet Bojana Jovanovski, who beat Kai-Chen Chang 7-5 6-1.

"I'm really happy to be back here in Australia, it's where I made my first semi-final at a Grand Slam [in 2009]," said Zvonareva.


"I was happy with the way I played today. It's very tough to play your best tennis in the first match and we were both struggling to find our rhythm.

"But the most important thing is that I got through this match and I'm looking forward to next one.

"Last year was a great experience and I'm just trying to look forward and get better."

Zvonareva had won her previous four meeting with Bammer but made a rusty start and was forced to save three break points in game one.

That, however, was to be her last genuine scare and after breaking serve in game two, she never looked back.

Zvonareva broke again to establish a 5-1 lead and although her opponent replied immediately, the Russian clinched the set as the Bammer delivery again faltered.

The second set was even more straightforward, Zvonareva breaking to love in games two and four before serving out the win.

Meanwhile, home hope Stosur crushed Lauren Davis of the United States 6-1 6-1 and Jankovic battled back from 4-0 down in the second set to beat Alla Kudryavtseva 6-0 7-6 (7-5).

However, Ivanovic, a former world number one, made an early exit against Russian Ekaterina Makarova.

The Serb saved five match points but Makarova held her nerve to wrap up a 3-6 6-4 10-8 success.

The Russian described the victory as the biggest of her career, having been beaten by Ivanovic in straight sets at last year's US Open in their only previous meeting.

"I am so happy," she said. "It is the first time I played such a long match.

"She's an unbelievable player and it was really tough. I'm so happy I beat her."

The 12th seed Agnieszka Radwanska survived a huge scare to get past Japanese 40-year-old Kimiko Date-Krumm.

Date-Krumm - the oldest player in this year's draw - was a double break ahead in the deciding set but Radwanska received treatment for a back problem and then rallied to win 6-4 4-6 7-5.

The Pole will next play Croatia's Petra Martic, who came from a set behind to beat Australian wildcard Sophie Ferguson 7-6 (8-6) 0-6 6-3.

Another Australian wildcard to go down was Sally Peers, losing 6-2 6-4 to Czech 25th seed Petra Kvitova - a semi-finalist at Wimbledon.

Shahar Peer (10),Nadia Petrova (13), Maria Kirilenko (18) and Flavia Pennetta (22) were among the other seeds to advance.

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