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Kim Clijsters makes winning return to French Open
The second-seeded Belgian, who twice lost in the final in Paris, said she had been looking forward to her first match at the tournament since losing in the 2006 semifinals.
“I remember that I played some matches on that Court Suzanne Lenglen. I remember that I didn’t really like it too much,” said Clijsters, who beat Anastasiya Yakimova of Belarus 6-2, 6-3 there Tuesday in the first round. “Now I was like, ‘Oh, great, I get to play there.’”
Since returning to the tour in 2009 following the birth of her daughter, Clijsters has won three of her four Grand Slam titles. And she came to the French Open with the chance to win her third straight major after taking the title at last year’s U.S. Open and this year’s Australian Open.
Clijsters entered the tournament despite injuring her right ankle while dancing at her cousin’s wedding in April. She took some time off to recover, and finally tested it in a competitive match on Tuesday.
“It feels steady and good. So it’s important now when I get back to the hotel that I ice it a lot and that I take good care of it, and I will have treatment,” Clijsters said. “Then tomorrow just make sure I keep mobilizing it so that I don’t get more inflammation than I have already.”
“It’s OK. If you want to do well, you have to beat them all, so it doesn’t matter,” said Clijsters, adding she can relate to Sharapova both because of their injury layoffs and their significant others.
“They’re big,” Clijsters said, “but they’re softies.”
BALL RETURN: Dunlop, replaced by Babolat this year as the official ball manufacturer for the French Open, issued a statement Tuesday to point out that the companies’ products are different.
Some players have complained about the switch. French Tennis Federation spokesman Christophe Proust said this week that the Babolat balls are made “the exact same way” as their Dunlop predecessors.
“The nature of our composition formulae … mean that it is impossible for another manufacturer to replicate the finished product,” Dunlop said.
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