Arantxa Rus had the best day of her young career today with a little help from her opponent Kim Clijsters. Kim raced to a 6-3, 5-2 leading position with a large number of winners and unforced errors under her belt before the wheels fell off on a windy cold day in Paris.
With the dust blowing up intermittently in the players faces Kim looked like she was in a hurry to get back to her daughter Jada who appeared in the audience. Instead Kim seemed to lose total control of her game once she had a match point in hand.
After Rus defend a match point at 2-5 she then broke a seemingly tight Clijsters who was spraying errors wildly all over the court. Again Kim had a match point at 5-4 but the plucky young Rus was patient and sure enough the error came off the Clijsters racquet.
Rus broke Clijsters again and the young Dutch woman took the second set, surprising spectators, 7-5 as Clijsters was unable to stop the rot.
The failing forehand and serve of Clijsters repeatedly failed as word started to come out of Paris that Kim’s recently injured ankle was playing up. She appeared to keep moving reasonably well but she just couldn’t hold serve.
The world number 2 struggled desperately to hold serve when at 1-5 but was only able to defend one match point before her unforced errors eventually crippled her.
As Clijsters returned to her chair after shaking hands with Rus and the umpire there was a slight limp but she was quickly off court and the world number two, who was hoping to claim one of the Grand Slams that has eluded her before she ends her career next year as she has talked about (after the Olympics).
In the end Rus hit nine winners to 22 unforced errors while Clijsters hit 31 winners to a horrific 65 unforced errors with ten double faults. While Kim has not played since the American hard courts her chances at Wimbledon may be under threat if she has re-injured her ankle.