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Three-time champion Kim Clijsters ended her tennis career today with an upset loss to England’s Laura Robson in the second round of the U.S. Open.
Clijsters, seeded 23rd and playing in her 163rd Grand Slam singles match, lost 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-5) to the 18-year-old Robson, who was playing in her 10th Grand Slam match and had never before reached the third round of a major tennis tournament. Robson is ranked 89th in the world.
Clijsters, 29, of Belgium, has said this was her final tournament before retirement. She’s also playing in the doubles at the National Tennis Center in New York.
“This completely feels like the perfect place to retire,” Clijsters, who won the 2005, 2009 and 2010 U.S. Open titles, said in an on-court interview. “I just wish it wasn’t today.”
Women’s No. 1 seed Victoria Azarenka and men’s No. 3 Andy Murray moved into the third round, and American John Isner served 20 aces in a four-set win in his opening match at the year’s final major.
No. 3 seed Maria Sharapova of Russia, fifth seed Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic, defending champion Samantha Stosur of Australia and American amateur Mallory Burdette also won women’s matches today.
Azarenka, a 23-year-old from Belarus, beat Belgium’s Kirsten Flipkens 6-2, 6-2 to open Day 3 play at Arthur Ashe Stadium, converting four of seven break points. Flipkens, 26, was 0-for-3 in break attempts.
The U.S. Open is the only tennis major at which Azarenka has yet to reach the quarterfinals. Making her seventh appearance, her best finish was a fourth-round loss in 2007. In 2010, she quit in the second round, and lost in the third round in 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2011.
“I don’t feel like I have to prove something,” Azarenka said about her third-round meeting with No. 28 seed Zheng Jie of China, who beat Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia 6-3, 6-1. “I have a tough opponent. I’m up for the challenge.”
Murray, a Briton who won the gold medal at the London Olympics this month, defeated Ivan Dodig of Croatia 6-2, 6-1, 6- 3 last night.
Isner, seeded ninth, won his first-round match 6-3, 7-6 (7- 5), 5-7, 7-6 (11-9) in 2 hours, 56 minutes against Xavier Malisse of Belgium. His next opponent will be Jarkko Nieminen of Finland.
Kvitova, the Wimbledon champion in 2011 who hasn’t advanced past the fourth round of the U.S. Open in four previous tries, won 6-4, 6-3 against Alize Cornet of France.
Sharapova, 25, the 2006 champion, won 6-0, 6-1 against Lourdes Dominguez Lino of Spain. Stosur, seeded seventh this year, defeated Edina Gallovits-Hall of Romania 6-3, 6-0.
Burdette, a 21-year-old wild-card invitee from Jackson, Georgia, who is making her Grand Slam main-draw singles debut, beat Lucie Hradecka of the Czech Republic 6-2, 6-4 and will face Sharapova in the third round.
A Stanford University tennis team member, Burdette will forfeit at least $65,000 for reaching the third round because she is an amateur. She said she won’t be peeking to see how much she’s already given up.
“I have already checked the amateur box, so if I know correctly, you can’t go back once the tournament starts,” Burdette said at a news conference. “So it’s done.”
All women’s singles matches were in the second round today. The men played first- and second-round matches.
David Ferrer, a 30-year-old from Spain who is seeded fourth, beat South Africa’s Kevin Anderson, 6-4, 6-2, 7-6 (7-3) in a first-round match in Louis Armstrong Stadium.
Brian Baker, a 27-year-old American who started the year ranked 458th and is now 70th, beat Jan Hajek of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-4, 6-2.
Seventh-seeded Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina also advanced, defeating Frenchman Florent Serra in a first-round match. Serra replaced David Nalbandian, who withdrew from the tournament last night. Del Potro won the 2009 U.S. Open title.
Ninth-seeded Li Na of China; Lucie Safarova, the No. 15 seed from the Czech Republic; Nadia Petrova, the No. 19 seed from Russia and No. 31 seed Varvara Lepchenko of the U.S. all advanced in women’s play.
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