Indian Wells: Kim Clijsters pulled out of the Indian Wells WTA tournament on Tuesday because of a lingering shoulder problem, conceding her fourth-round match to Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli 3-6, 3-1.
Although the Belgian world number two had won the opening set on the hardcourt surface, she summoned her trainer for treatment on her shoulder when trailing 1-2 in the second and withdrew one game later.
Clijsters has been taking pain killers to cope with a pinched shoulder since before she won her fourth grand slam title at the Australian Open in January.
After losing to Czech Petra Kvitova in last month`s Paris Open final, the Belgian had hoped to regain full fitness while taking a break of almost four weeks from competition.
"I had treatment on it while I was off, and it felt fine," Clijsters told reporters after beating Italy`s Sara Errani 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 in the third round at Indian Wells on Sunday.
"When I`m not training it feels fine but as I got into hitting a little bit more again, it slowly just flared up a little bit."
Asked how concerned she was by her shoulder, Clijsters replied: "On hard courts I know that I am able to control it. I`m concerned for what`s coming up next, and that`s the claycourt season."
The 27-year-old Belgian said she had been taking medication for her shoulder since before the Australian Open.
"Nothing seriously, just like an Advil here and there, a painkiller," said Clijsters.
"With those higher shots against the opponent today, I just feel it more ... pinching a little bit more when I have to do that kick serve and when I have to reach that right arm up higher with the forehand."
Bartoli, the 15th seed, advances to the last eight at Indian Wells where she will face 19th-seeded Ana Ivanovic, a 6-4, 6-2 winner against fellow Serb Jelena Jankovic earlier on Tuesday.