2010 WTA Player of the Year Kim Clijsters of Belgium started her official tournament year off with a commanding 6-1 6-2 win over Alexandra Dulgheru of Romania. Coming of a New Year’s Day exhibition win over #1-ranked Caroline Wozniacki, the third-seeded Clijsters was particularly sharp on serve, at one point hitting 18 consecutive first serves against Dulgheru. First serve percentage is a key match statistic, particularly in women’s tennis where too many second serve chances lead to matches often featuring multiple service breaks being traded.
“Maybe not the fastest serves I’ve hit, but I was very focused on trying to place my serves well and just making a lot of serves, especially when you’re playing into the sun,” Clijsters said.
“I didn’t want to give her a lot of second serves that she could attack on, so I was happy with that.”
Russia’s Svetlana Kuznetsova spoiled the hometown fan’s wishes by easily defeating Australian wildcard Jelena Dokic 6-2 6-2. Dokic says she is still recovering from a stomach virus that affected her at the end of the Brisbane International, but even at 100% she would have had her hands full with two-time Major champion Svetlana Kuznetsova. Dokic had requested a Monday start to allow her more time to recover, but instead was scheduled on the first day against the tough Russian. At this point, having been beaten soundly by Andrea Petkovic at Brisbane and Svetlana Kuznetsova at Medibank while also battling illness, it is questionable how prepared the comebacking 27-year old is for the Australian Open in Melbourne. It’s sports and anything can happen, but these pre-Aussie results for Dokic do not signal a deep run at the year’s first Major championship.