U.S. Open: New Mom Clijsters beats Venus
NEW YORK ó A half-hour after getting past Venus Williams in a three-set tussle at the U.S. Open, Kim Clijsters had her hands full again.
Juggling an energy drink, a bottle of water and a snack, Clijsters was trying to keep an eye on her 18-month-old daughter, Jada, as the tyke scurried around the players’ lounge.
Better keep the nanny on call: Mommy’s got more work to do at Flushing Meadows.
Playing by far her biggest match since coming back after 21/2 years away from tennis, Clijsters knocked off the No. 3-seeded Williams 6-0, 0-6, 6-4 Sunday in a match of wild momentum swings to reach the U.S. Open quarterfinals.
“It’s still kind of hard to believe. But then again, I’m not trying to get carried away with it all,” the 26-year-old Belgian said. “Just trying to focus on what I have to do, because the tournament’s still going. I just want to keep focusing on my tennis.”
And some tennis it is. Against Williams, a seven-time major champion, Clijsters displayed the same sort of booming groundstrokes and all-over-the-place court coverage that helped her win the 2005 U.S. Open and briefly reach No. 1 in the rankings before leaving the tour.
Only two mothers have won a Grand Slam singles title; the last was Evonne Goolagong Cawley at Wimbledon in 1980. Clijsters will be in the semifinals if she beats No. 18 Li Na of China.
“With the kind of training that she’s put in, I knew this wasn’t just for fun,” said Clijsters’ husband, Brian Lynch, an American who ended his professional basketball career in Belgium when she decided to unretire. “She was trying to make something happen here.”
Consider that done, even if Williams appeared slightly hobbled at times by her heavily bandaged left knee, and her mother, Oracene Price, said afterward: “We all know she’s just trying to go as far as she can. I don’t know if she should have done that.”
“I wasn’t able to play 100 percent,” Williams said.
Still, she went back out on court later Sunday, teaming with her younger sister Serena to win a third-round doubles match. The No. 2-seeded Serena is still defending her title in the singles tournament ó hasn’t dropped a set yet.