Belgian tennis champion back on circuit

Belgium’s former world tennis number one Kim Clijsters made a victorious return to the WTA circuit after nearly four months away in Belgium on Tuesday as she downed Croatian Jelena Kostanic 6-2, 6-3 in the $585 000 tournament.

The 21-year-old had been forced to take a rest with a serious wrist injury back in October but took just less than an hour to see off her 35th-ranked opponent as she seeks to defend her title.

Clijsters, who will meet fifth seed Nadia Petrova of Russia in the second round, broke Kostanic twice in the first set and once in the second before clinching the match on her first match point.

She expressed her delight at making such a fluent return.

“I was bursting to resume my competitive career but I am somewhat astonished at how well it went against a highly rated rival like that,” said Clijsters, whose fellow Belgian Justine Henin-Hardenne also suffered an injury-plagued year last year despite being crowned Olympic champion.

“Physically, I felt tops, so I knew I would last the match.”—Sapa-AFP