Filed at 7:26 a.m.
Kim Clijsters’s streak of 15 Grand Slam match victories ended Thursday at the French Open with a flurry of unforced errors.
In spite of hitting only eight winners, Arantxa Rus, the 114th seed from the Netherlands, won 11 of the final 12 games and beat Clijsters 3-6, 7-5, 6-1 — with Clijsters, who’d had two match points, helping mightily with 65 unforced errors .
Clijsters, the tournament’s second seed, came into the French Open as the winner of the last two Grand Slam tournaments, the Australian Open and the U.S. Open, on hard surfaces. As for playing on clay, well, until her first-round match Tuesday, she had not played at Roland Garros since a semifinal loss in 2006. “She should have done better on clay...”Martina Navratilova said on the Tennis Channel, adding that, as someone who grew up playing in Belgium, Clijsters should be better on clay. “...It was just a bad day at the office today.”
Although Clijsters hurt her ankle last month dancing at a wedding, she wasn’t using that as an excuse for losing. Nor was she second-guessing her decision to play in Paris.
“I’m happy that I did that, that I gave myself the opportunity. It’s better to try than not to try, I think. That’s my attitude. I’m not going to sit here and say ‘Maybe I shouldn’t have come here.’ That’s the attitude of a real loser I think. I gave it the best that I had with my abilities that I had. ”
Clijsters said she was physically fine and admitted her confidence disintegrated.
“I started doubting a little bit and on clay, I think that’s something that, for me, is definitely the wrong attitude to have. When you start doubting yourself — on any surface — for me, especially on clay, it’s the wrong attitude to have. She started building up confidence, started playing a lot better and was really kind of putting me on my back foot all the time.”
In her first-round, straight-sets victory over Anastasiya Yakimova, Clijsters had 33 unforced errors and lost 15 of 17 points on her second serve.
“When I think back on my past on clay, I think that’s a little bit more of a clay-court kind of statistic,” Clijsters said Tuesday (via the New York Times). “I would like to serve more with a kick serve, a real kick serve where the ball bounces up more, so you don’t give your opponent the opportunity to step in and go for that shot
“It’s something that is definitely a lower statistic than I would have on a hard court, but I’ll try to make that better for my next match.”
In other results Thursday, Mardy Fish beat Robin Haase 7-6 (7-1), 6-2, 6-1; Andy Murray advanced with a 7-6 (7-3), 6-4, 7-5 victory over Simone Bolelli; Na Li beat Silvia Soler-Espinosa 6-4, 7-5.
Scoreboard/schedule: Rafael Nadal, Maria Sharapova play later today.