BRISBANE: Kim Clijsters sent out an ominous warning to her rivals when she demolished Australia’s Alicia Molik in the second round of the Brisbane International yesterday.
The Belgian was in ruthless form as she saw off Molik in exactly 60 minutes, breaking the Australian’s serve six times on her way to a 6-0, 6-3 victory.
A day after fellow comeback queen Justine Henin ousted second seed Nadia Petrova in equally impressive fashion, Clijsters ensured she would attract just as many headlines as her countrywoman with a dominant display. She broke Molik in the first game of the match then broke twice more to wrap up the first set in just 25 minutes.
Clijsters continued her rampage as she broke Molik at the start of the second set then held to open a 2-0 lead.
Molik eventually held serve, then managed to break back at 2-3 to even up the set, but Clijsters stepped up a gear and won the next three games to take the match.
“I found it pretty easy to read her serve — that was something I was worried about before the match,” Clijsters said.
“That is one of her best shots, but I felt comfortable returning and I kept the pressure on her.”
There is still a good chance that the two Belgians will meet in Saturday’s final, and Clijsters said she had been impressed by what she saw in Henin’s win over Petrova.
“I watched a little bit of it on TV — very impressive I thought,” Clijsters said.
“She was moving really well and didn’t look like she’d left (the sport).
“On TV she looked fast and strong and I assume that (when I play against her) on the court she’ll be the same.”
While Petrova said Henin would emerge the winner if the two met in the final, Molik wasn’t so sure.
Molik, who first played Clijsters in juniors when they were both 14, said Clijsters was still the same player she was before she retired in 2007.
“She’s still incredibly good at the things she’s always done well,” Molik said.
“She left the game when she was at the top and I think she’s still at that level.”
Earlier in the day German Andrea Petkovic became the first player to go through to the quarter-finals when she came from a game down to beat Vania King of the USA 4-6, 6-2, 6-1.
Melinda Czink, the seventh seed from Hungary, beat Czech Barbora Zahlavova Strycova 6-3, 2-6, 6-1 and advanced to the quarter-finals, where she could well play Henin, if the Belgian overcomes Sesil Karatantcheva today. — AFP