2009 U.S. Open: Kim Clijsters Opens the Proceedings in Style

Sudeshna BanerjeeAnalyst IAugust 31, 2009

A few days ago, at the Roger’s Cup, Kim Clijsters commented, "Looking at Venus, Serena, maybe Justine [Henin] and myself, we have a Plan B. A lot of girls these days—when they play well and everything goes the way they want to—they’re the best."

Such a comment can come only with vast experience and with age.

And looking at her as she opened the proceedings on Arthur Ashe Stadium at the year’s ultimate Grand Slam, one has to believe she had been downright honest.

Resplendent in a bright red outfit, the Belgian showed ample glimpses of her 2005 title-winning form, outclassing Viktoriya Kutuzova in every department, infusing high bounce with smart slices when her Ukrainian opponent made even a slight attempt to change strategy.

And one is kept wondering when was she away from the courts and the competition!

The same forehand is there, looking menacing as ever and making a smooth transition from the crosscourts to the down-the-line; the backhands looking crisp and the athleticism makes it even more hard to fathom that she returns after 27 months following a childbirth!

As a result, the 26-year-old wild card made things very clear the moment she stepped onto the court—she is here for some serious business.

Consequently, the former World No. 1 raced to a 5-0 lead, before the unfortunate Kutuzova could even find herself on the board.

And within a blink of an eye, the first set was gone in 27 minutes.

The desperate Kutuzova made an effort to change the course of the match, trying to bring her hard-hitting play onto the fore, but Clijster’s Plan B was right up there with the slices, which caught the Ukrainian unaware.

And from then on, Kim didn’t have to think twice, as she completed her emphatic victory—6-1, 6-1—in 54 minutes after breaking Kutuzova for a total of five times.

Kim’s only cause of concern might be her serve, which looks a little shaky compared to other parts of her game. In spite of allowing her weak second serve to make four double-faults, she managed to neutralize that today with her shining first serves, which were at 70 percent, including seven aces.

And for others drawn to be in Clijster’s part of the draw, the real cause of concern might be that her Plan A and Plan B are both working!