2011 French Open: How Kim Clijsters Loss Affects the Women's Draw

Alan RubensteinAnalyst IIIMay 26, 2011

PARIS, FRANCE - MAY 26:  Arantxa Rus (R) of Netherlands celebrates her victory during the women's singles round two match between Arantxa Rus of Netherlands and Kim Clijsters of Belgium on day five of the French Open at Roland Garros on May 26, 2011 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Kim Clijsters 3-6, 7-5,6-1 loss to Arantxa Rus in the second round of the French Open has created a creator in the bottom half of the draw. Clijsters entered the 2011 French Open with a 27-2 record in her last five Grand Slams. She had won three of the last five Grand Slams that she entered and also captured the 2010 WTA end of the year championships

Aranxta Rus is playing in only her fifth career Grand Slam. This is the first time she has advanced past the second round of a slam and her win over Clijsters is only her fifth career win at a slam.

Rus is a former Junior World No. 1 and won the 2008 Junior Australian Open. Her 2011 record was only 20-12.

Clijsters' loss leaves only three players on the women’s side that have ever won a Grand Slam event. Maria Sharapova with three, Svetlana Kuzetsova's two and defending French Open Champion Francesca Schiavone one.

On Clijsters half of the draw, Sharapova is the only player to ever win a Slam and Na Li of China is the only other player to reach a Grand Slam final. Na lost to Clijsters in the Australian Open final this year.

Rus’ win was a Monster upset, which is appropriate since she is from Monster, The Netherlands.

How Rus won

Clijsters had the match under control. She won the first set 6-3 and led 5-2 in the second before her collapse. An inability to convert two match points in the second set, 65 unforced errors and ten double faults ultimately did Clijsters in. Clijsters began to doubt herself and Rus’ never seemed aware of the moment. Rus won 11 of the last 12 games of the match to advance to play Maria Kirilenko in the fourth round.

Who Benefits

Maria Sharapova, Caroline Wozniacki, Maria Kirilenko and Andrea Petkovic.
You could argue that everyone in the draw benefits. Clijsters loss to Rus broke a 15-match Grand Slam winning streak.

The immediate beneficiary is Maria Kirilenko. Instead of playing Clijsters, Kirilenko’s next match is now against Rus. Kirilenko’s has only advanced to one Grand Slam quarterfinal in her career, the 2010 Australian Open.

Twenty-three year old Petkovic’s career is on the upswing. The fifteenth seed has the highest ranking she has ever had and with Clijsters out, she has the highest seed of the four players fighting for a spot in the quarterfinals. She is coming off a quarterfinal appearance in Australia and advanced to the fourth round at last year’s US Open.

Maria Sharapova is seeking her first Grand Slam title since winning Australian Open in 2008. She hasn’t advanced past the fourth round of a slam since the reaching the quarterfinals at Roland Garros in 2009. A chronic shoulder injury has limited her effectiveness since surgery in October 2008. The injury sidelined Sharapova until May of 2009. She seems to be playing her best tennis since then.

Sharapova was very nearly an upset victim herself. The 24-year-old Russian came back from a set and 4-1 down to win in three sets. She will face Yung Jun-Chan of Taipei in the third round.

Caroline Wozniacki is still searching for her first career Grand Slam. Woziacki finished 2009 ranked fourth and 2010 with the world’s top ranking. She is the No. 1 seed for the third consecutive Grand Slam. Clijsters loss will shift a lot of the pressure to the 20-year-old Dane.