Kim Clijsters Handles Simona Halep with Ease in WTA Brisbane Opener

Shane LambertAnalyst IIJanuary 1, 2012

Kim Clijsters
Kim ClijstersChris Hyde/Getty Images

Kim Clijsters had been idle on the women's tour since August when she pulled out of a match against Jie Zheng in Toronto. However, the Belgian did not show signs of rust in the first round of WTA Brisbane this weekend as she handled Romania's Simona Halep with ease.

Clijsters advanced through the first round 6-1, 6-4 in a win that took her just over one hour to complete.

Clijsters did not ace Halep; however, the Belgian still won 77% of the points she played on her first serve. In returning against Halep, Clijsters had little trouble as she earned a lot of looks at the young Romanian's second serve and broke her four times in the match as a result.

Next up for Clijsters is a second round match against either Ana Ivanovic or Tamira Paszek. Ivanovic is the most probable opponent for Clijsters not just based on talent but also based on the fact that she led Paszek by a set at time of writing, having won the opening set of their match 6-3.

Clijsters has only entered WTA Brisbane once before this season, but it was a gainful tournament for the former world No. 1. In 2010, she defeated Justine Henin in the championship match in a classic three-set final that was won by the minimum in a tiebreaker.

This season, Clijsters' road to a Brisbane title could be a little more challenging. Not only does it appear she might face former world No. 1 Ana Ivanovic in the next round but Clijsters shares a semi with reigning US Open champion Samantha Stosur and former world No. 1 Serena Williams.

Surviving that half of the draw, there are a number of plausible championship-match opponents including Andrea Petkovic, Francesca Schiavone, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, or Jelena Jankovic.