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.
First Published: Wednesday, March 16, 2011, 09:36