Clijsters plays first match in 2021, loses to Hsieh in Chicago


Playing first match since opening round exit at 2020 US Open, Kim Clijsters lost to Hsieh Su-Wei in the first round of the Chicago Fall Tennis Classic 6-3 5-7 6-3.

The 38-year-old Clijsters’ bid to win her first match since final tournament of her ‘second’ career at 2012 US Open ended in defeat. Last season, the former world No.1’s win-loss record was 0-3. Then a knee surgery in October 2020 halted her comeback. Furthermore, in January 2021 she contracted COVID-19 and although her symptoms were mild, the sickness disrupted her training schedule and she withdrew from Miami and Charleston due to lack of preparation.

Playing the WTA 500 tournament in Chicago as a wildcard, the mother of three recovered from breaks down in the second and third sets before succumbing to the Australian Open quarterfinalist Hsieh in two hours and 18 minutes on Stadium Court.

Despite the loss, the four-time Grand Slam champion Clijsters is satisfied:

I came close today, but still have a good feeling about, you know I’ve made progression and I think that’s the most important thing.

As ESPN reports, the Belgian would next like to play Indian Wells, if her body holds up, and she’s really looking forward to World Team Tennis.

After the first career meeting with Clijsters, the world No.97 Hsieh praised her opponent’s politeness and kindness. The Taiwanese player had a funny, yet so true conclusion:

I’m lucky I didn’t play her 10 years ago.

Clijsters made her professional debut in August 1997, nearly five years before the youngest player in the Chicago draw, Marta Kostyuk, was born. The Belgian lost in singles, but she’ll stay in Chicago as she’s also in the doubles draw with countrywoman Kirsten Flipkens.



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