SONY ERICSSON OPEN
Kim Finds Her Swing
Reigning US Open champion Kim Clijsters powered into the Sony Ericsson Open fourth round Sunday with a 6-0, 6-1 win over 17th seed Shahar Peer. It was a crushing win over the Israeli, who leads the Sony Ericsson Open WTA Tour with 18 match wins this season. Clijsters dropped just two points on her first serve in the match and also hammered the Peer second serve, winning 18 of 22 points.
But things are about to get a lot tougher for Clijsters, who will now meet fourth seed and defending champion Victoria Azarenka, who defeated Czech Lucie Safarova 6-4, 6-2.
Atoning for her surprise third-round exit at Indian Wells, Clijsters arrives in the fourth round having dropped just three games in two matches. In the first round she dismissed Czech Petra Kvitova 6-1, 6-1. Clijsters, the 2005 Sony Ericsson Open champion, advanced to the Miami fourth round for the seventh time in eight appearances.
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“It’s nice to have a feeling that your brain and your arm are kind of connecting,” Clijsters said. “In Indian Wells it was a completely different story. Gradually, throughout the two weeks that I've been preparing myself, after I lost to Kleybanova, I've been really trying to focus on getting my swing back and the feeling where you can play freely, have a loose arm.
“That's the feeling when I'm out there playing. It's a nice feeling to have. But, you know, I know from the past and I've learned from the past that it can change very quickly, as well. I just want to try to maintain this feeling and keep focusing, practice on just moving well and taking small steps.”
Fellow Belgian Justine Henin also advanced to the fourth round with a 6-4, 6-4 win over No. 26 seed Dominika Cibulkova. Henin, who stepped out of retirement this year and reached the Australian Open final in January, dropped serve four times but claimed six breaks of her own during the 1 hr., 33 min. match. She rallied from behind in both sets to win.
“It was the first time I've played against her. It’s never easy to play someone you don't know," Henin said. "But I was glad about my reaction in both sets to come back. And especially after a good win two days ago, it wasn't that easy today, but I'm glad I'm in the last 16.”
Playing her fourth tournament of the year, Henin improved to a 14-4 record on the season and next faces 11th-seeded Russian Vera Zvonareva, who defeated Italian Sara Errani 6-2, 6-3.
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