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‘Aussie Kim’ exits likely last Australian Open
Scampering from side to side, retrieving balls that most players would not have got close to let alone returned, the 28-year-old Clijsters didn’t seem at all bothered by her ankle. Several times, she almost did the splits as she stretched out wide to force her opponent to play one more ball.
Trailing 4-2 in the deciding set, Clijsters recovered from 40-0 down on her opponent’s serve, saved another three game points and broke back _ to elicit what must have been one of the loudest cheers of the fortnight.
“She made me run so much, I felt like I was running like a marathon out there,” Azarenka said.
It wasn’t enough. Azarenka broke right back and served out the win to reach her first Grand Slam final.
“It’s unfortunate when you get so close,” Clijsters said. “I know I’m capable of beating all these girls, but it’s whoever’s better on the day wins and gets to go through.
“But I could have been home already two days ago. I feel that I really gave it 200 percent, so in that way I really don’t feel like I could have done anything differently these last two weeks.”
Clijsters didn’t reflect on her loss for long before looking ahead to her next target: The French Open, where she lost in the finals in 2001 and 2003.
“It is a challenge,” she said. “It’s one of the goals that I have this season, to give myself a really good preparation on the clay courts and try to be close to my best level when I get to the French Open.”
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