Siniakova stops returning Clijsters

AgenciesUpdated: Saturday, October 09, 2021, 12:01 AM IST
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Kim Clijsters | AFP

Indian Wells: Two-time champion Kim Clijsters made her first appearance in ten years at the BNP Paribas Open on Thursday, but the former World No.1 fell at the first hurdle.

Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic outlasted Clijsters of Belgium, 6-1, 2-6, 6-2, in an hour and 36 minutes, to pick up her first singles win since the first round of the US Open.

In the Czech’s first meeting with Clijsters, Siniakova fended off a valiant second-set comeback from the four-time major champion before regrouping in the third set and collecting her first singles win at Indian Wells since 2018.

"It was really special," Siniakova said on court, after her win. "I was actually looking forward (to this), because I remember when I was young, and I was watching her play, and she always did amazing. So it’s unbelievable I could stay with her on the court."

By moving forward, Siniakova sets up a second-round meeting with another former World No.1 and multiple-Grand Slam champion, No.10 seed Angelique Kerber.

Clijsters won the BNP Paribas Open in 2003 and 2005, and last played the event in 2011 before her retirement in 2012. After an eight-year absence from the tour, Clijsters returned to action early last season, and she went 0-3 in 2020 after close losses to Garbine Muguruza, Johanna Konta, and Ekaterina Alexandrova.

Earlier in the day, former Top 10 player Caroline Garcia will be American teenager Coco Gauff's first opponent in her debut at the BNP Paribas Open, after the Frenchwoman sealed a 5-7, 6-4, 6-0 victory over Belgian qualifier Kirsten Flipkens.

lso coming from a set down to seal a second-round berth with a final-set bagel was Latvia's Anastasija Sevastova, who battled back against Polona Hercog in a 3-6, 6-2, 6-0 victory. The former World No. 11 will be the first opponent for No. 12 seed Ons Jabeur.

(with inputs fro WTA website)

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