January 18, 2012 in Sports

Clijsters cruises

 

 Defending champion Kim Clijsters (pictured) cruised into the third round of the Australian Open in Melbourne and then showed just how much support she has at Rod Laver Arena by getting the crowd to sing “Happy Birthday” to her younger sister.

 Clijsters only needed 47 minutes to beat Stephanie Foretz Gacon of France 6-0, 6-1 today, conceding just 10 points in the first set and showing no signs of a hip problem that forced her to retire during a semifinal against Daniela Hantuchova at a warmup tournament two weeks ago.

 She will meet Hantuchova in the next round here, and has a potential rematch of the 2011 Australian Open final with Li Na in the fourth.

 Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer took differing paths against German rivals to the next stage. Nadal beat Tommy Haas 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 in the last afternoon match on Rod Laver Arena. Federer, who has won four of his 16 Grand Slam titles in Australia, got a walkover into the third round when Andreas Beck withdrew from their scheduled Hisense Arena match due to a lower back injury.

 Eighth-ranked Mardy Fish became the first top 10 player on the men’s side to lose, falling 7-6 (4), 6-3, 7-6 (6) to Colombia’s Alejandro Falla. – AP

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