Clijsters into 3rd round at Australian Open
Melbourne: Defending champion Kim Clijsters cruised into the third round of the Australian Open 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 on Wednesday, 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.
Eighth-ranked Mardy Fish became the first high seed on the men`s side to lose, falling 7-6 (4), 6-3, 7-6 (6) to Colomnia`s Alejandro Falla.
No. 7 Tomas Berdych advanced 6-1, 6-0, 7-6 (4) and Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany was leading 6-0, 4-0 when Spain`s Pere Riba retired in their second-round match.
Taiwan`s Yen-hsun Lu beat French qualifier Florent Serra in straight sets and No. 30 Kevin Anderson of South Africa beat Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine 3-6, 6-1, 7-6 (3), 6-3.
Clijsters and No. 20 Hantuchova, a 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 winner over Lesia Tsurenko, have been playing each other for years.
"When the injury happened, it happened against Daniela," Clijsters said. "She`s been playing well this season so far.
"We both go back a long way — we grew up playing under-14s together. Now almost 30 — still battling it out."
This was Clijsters best run at a major since the last Australian Open — she lost in the second round at the French Open and didn`t play Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.