Clijsters, Venus return with Miami wins

Wed, 21 Mar 21:40:00 2012

Kim Clijsters and Venus Williams both made triumphant returns to action from injury and illness respectively with first round victories in Miami.

Kim Clijsters of Belgium hits a backhand during her match against Jarmila Gajdosova of Australia at the Sony Ericsson Open tennis tournament in Key Biscayne, Florida, March 21, 2012. - 0

Williams had not played a singles match since last year's US Open in New York when she revealed she had been diagnosed with Sjogren's syndrome, an auto-immune disease that causes fatigue and joint soreness.

But the 31-year-old American was back on the court on Wednesday, beating Japan's Kimiko Date-Krumm 6-0 6-3 in an hour and 17 minutes.

"Just to be in this tournament is a huge win for me," Williams said after being granted a wildcard entry into the tournament.

"Just being here is a win, I told myself going into this, this is a win. Just to train and get back at this level."

Belgium's Clijsters, another former number one on the comeback trail, overcame a slow start before beating Australia's Jarmila Gajdosova 4-6 6-1 6-0.

Clijsters had not played since she lost to eventual champion Victoria Azarenka in the Australian Open semi-finals when she injured her ankle.

"It's always tough to get that first match rhythm under your belt," Clijsters said.

"One thing I can count on is I have the experience, though. It doesn't take me that long to get used to it again. But it has become tougher."

With none of the seeds scheduled to play until the second round on Thursday, there were also first round wins for Shahar Peer, Iveta Benesova, Vania King and Aleksandra Wozniack.


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