Thrilling Clijsters shocks former World No.1 Safina with clean win

21:42, January 18, 2011      

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Kim Clijsters of Belgium returns to Dinara Safina of Russia during the first round women's single match at the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne, Australia, Jan. 18, 2011. Kim Clijsters won 2-0 to enter the next round. (Xinhua/Meng Yongmin)

The 3rd seed Kim Clijsters started her Australian Open in a thrilling form here on Tuesday by shocking a devastated Dinara Safina with a clean sweep in a clash between two former world No. 1.

Three-time US Open champion Clijsters came to Melbourne for the ninth time as one of the top favorites of the women's singles title. The Belgian has also showed sensational form in the lead-ups for the first Slam of the season by reaching the final at the Medibank International Sydney where she only lost to China's Li Na, 11th ranked in the world, in three sets.

However, it still came out as a surprise as she left not a single chance for the Russian finalist here in 2009, winning by 6-0, 6-0 in 44 minutes.

Safina, who spent 26 weeks as the World No. 1 in 2009, said it was an embarrassment as she has totally crashed and felt helpless.

"I didn't know how to win a point," she said at the news conference with a tremble in her voice. "I didn't know. I was sitting in the changeover and I was like, okay, at least how can I get a chance to hurt her? There was nothing that I could hurt her."

Coming to Melbourne as the 75th in the world, Safina is now in danger of dropping out of top 100 after her loss today, which would be the first time since July 29, 2002.

The 24-year-old Russian retired from 4th round in Melbourne last year due to recurrence of lower back injury and missed three months before returning at Stuttgart. However, she then missed Wimbledon with the same injury.

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