Wimbledon 2012 Results: Kim Clijsters' Victory Keeps Sentimental Favorite Alive

Mike Moraitis@@michaelmoraitisAnalyst IJuly 1, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 30:  Kim Clijsters of Belgium at WTA's Kids in the Park Mini Tennis on day six of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club at Wimbledon on June 30, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Julian Finney/Getty Images

Kim Clijsters is near the end of her great career in tennis and as she makes her last go around at Wimbledon this year, it's become pretty easy to cheer for her as the sentimental favorite.

Clijsters has gained that fan-favorite status as a result of the news that she plans to retire after the U.S. Open, according to the Associated Press, per Yahoo! Sports.

In her third round match with Vera Zvonareva, Clijsters won the first set convincingly, 6-3, and was on her way to a match victory when she was up 4-3 in the second set. However, before the match could reach its conclusion, Zvonareva retired.

With that, Clijsters was assured entrance into the fourth round of the same tournament that she has never even reached the final in. To say she will now win this tournament for the first time at age 29 is a bit of a stretch, but nevertheless, the hope remains.

Clijsters has had quite an impressive career no matter how she ends it. The Belgian star has won four major tournaments during her tenure in the sport while finishing runner-up in another four.

Her career took its most notable turn after her initial retirement in 2007.

Two years after putting away her tennis racket and just a year after giving birth to her daughter, Clijsters captured the 2009 U.S. Open and was the first woman to do so as a wild card. Adding to that, she became the first mother to win a major in the open era since Evonne Goolagong Cawley won Wimbledon in 1980.

Clijsters immediately became the darling of tennis, having embraced being an athlete and motherhood with incredible success. Her unforgettable story landed her on Time's, "30 Legends of Women's Tennis: Past, Present and Future" by William Lee Adams in 2011.

It helped bring to light just how great Clijsters was.

But not to be mistaken, Clijsters has not only been a model tennis star for young women to look up to, but she has also been a model citizen. It's easy to wish someone like Clijsters well when she has always done things the right way.

Whether she wins Wimbledon or not, I expect her last tourney at the All England Club to end just as Clijsters has carried herself throughout her entire career: Gracious and classy.