Clijsters escapes with a close win

Associated Press

Berlin, May 5:

Kim Clijsters had a rocky comeback from a wrist injury on Tuesday, struggling past Spanish qualifier Marta Marrero 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 to reach the German Open quarter-finals. Ranked No 2 in the world, the Belgian trailed 3-2 in the final set and needed three match points before winning a two-hour match at the $1.3 million clay-court event, where seven of the world’s top 10 are entered.

Clijsters wore a brace around her left wrist for tendinitis, which has sidelined her since pulling out at Indian Wells, where she was the defending champion. Second-seeded Amelie Mauresmo had an easier time in reaching the quarters, needing just 50 minutes to coast past Gisela Dulko 6-1, 6-2. Russia’s Elena Dementieva, the world No 9, also edged France’s Stephanie Cohen-Aloro of France 6-4, 3-6, 6-2.

The brace hampered Clijster’s backhand, which she was unable to practice during her layoff. At one point in the second set against the 81st ranked Spaniard, Clijsters dropped five straight points, all on backhands. After losing the set, the Belgian smashed a ball against the retaining wall in anger. Mauresmo, who won the event in 2001, ended a one-sided affair against Dulko when the Argentine netted a backhand. Croatia’s Karolina Sprem, Clijsters’ next opponent, beat American Meghann Shaugnessy 6-2, 7-6.

Italian Open second round results: Lleyton Hewitt of Australia beat Andreas Seppi of Italy 5-7, 7-5, 6-3; Luis Horna of Peru beat Martin Verkerk of the Netherlands 6-4, 3-6, 6-4; Vincent Spadea of the United States beat Hicham Arazi of Morocco 2-6, 6-2, 6-4; Nikolay Davydenko of Russia beat Fernando Gonzalez of Chile 6-2, 5-7, 6-2.