Flushing Meadows, NY (Sports Network) - Three-time champion Kim Clijsters,
playing in her final WTA event, came up a second-round loser Wednesday at the
The 23rd-seeded former world No. 1 Clijsters succumbed to rising 18-year-old
British left-hander Laura Robson 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-5) at Ashe Stadium.
"This seems like the perfect place to retire, I just wish it wasn't today,"
said an emotional Clijsters.
Clijsters saved two match points, trailing 5-6, 15-40 in the second set, but
was unable to stave off a third in the second-set tiebreak, as the Belgian
wife and mother sent one final backhand return long on Day 3.
The 29-year-old star hadn't lost at the U.S. Open since losing to Justine
Henin in an all-Belgian final here in 2003. She'd won her last 22 matches on
the famed hardcourts in Flushing.
Clijsters, who is still in the doubles draw in New York, was the U.S. Open
champ in 2005, 2009 and 2010 and settled for a 38-6 singles record at
The oft-injured four-time Grand Slam singles champ, who turned pro in 1997 and
retired from the WTA for the first time in 2007 in order to start a family,
corralled 41 career titles and also helped Belgium win its lone Fed Cup title
back in 2001.
Clijsters was also a four-time major runner-up.
Meanwhile, current world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka and last year's Wimbledon
champion Petra Kvitova were easy second-round winners on Wednesday.
The Belarusian star Azarenka whipped Belgian qualifier Kirsten Flipkens 6-2,
6-2 in 65 minutes at Ashe. Flipkens is a former U.S. Open girls and
junior world champion who is playing doubles alongside Clijsters here.
Azarenka, a former U.S. Open mixed doubles champ, has been No. 1 for most
of the year after capturing her first major singles title at the Australian
Open back in January.
The 23-year-old Azarenka has never advanced beyond the fourth round in
"I don't feel like I have to prove something," Azarenka said.
Next up for the Olympic bronze medalist Azarenka will be China's Zheng Jie.
The fifth-seeded Kvitova handled France's Alize Cornet 6-4, 6-3 at Armstrong
Stadium. The left-handed Czech slugger, who captured both Wimbledon and the
prestigious season-ending WTA Championships last year, is the only woman to
reach the quarterfinals at all three Grand Slam events so far this year.
Kvitova's third-round opponent will be France's Pauline Parmentier.
Ninth-seeded Chinese Li Na continued her recent run of fine play with a 6-4,
6-4 victory over Aussie Casey Dellacqua. The 2011 French Open champion is
fresh off her big hardcourt title in Cincinnati and was a runner-up to Kvitova
in Montreal earlier this month.
Li's third-round opponent will be the talented Robson.
Also, 15th-seeded Czech Lucie Safarova held off Canadian Aleksandra Wozniak
6-3, 4-6, 6-2, Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic dismissed 17th-seeded Russian
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-1, 6-2, and 19th-seeded former top-10 Russian Nadia
Petrova pasted Romanian Simona Halep 6-1, 6-1 on Day 3 at the USTA Billie Jean
King National Tennis Center.
In other action involving seeds, Parmentier knocked out No. 25 Belgian Yanina
Wickmayer 7-6 (7-5), 6-3, a No. 28 Zheng drubbed Slovak Magdalena Rybarikova
6-3, 6-1, and No. 31 American Varvara Lepchenko whipped Aussie Anastasia
Rodionova 6-2, 6-2.
Another American winner was Stanford All-American Mallory Burdette, who
surprised capable Czech Lucie Hradecka 6-2, 6-4.
Burdette is a 21-year-old from Georgia who was this year's NCAA runner-up to
Nicole Gibbs, who lost in the first round this week.
"To end up here at the U.S. Open was a huge surprise," Burdette said. "I never
expected that at the beginning of the summer."
Also advancing to the third round was Luxembourg's Mandy Minella and Georgian
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