Wimbledon - Clijsters races into third round

Wed, 23 Jun 13:41:00 2010

Belgium's Kim Clijsters raced into the third round at Wimbledon courtesy of a 6-3 6-2 win over Croatian Karolina Sprem.

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The eighth seed, a two-time semi-finalist here, took her chance with her only break point in the opener before taking the first set in 33 minutes on a sun-bathed Court One at the All England Club.

Sprem, a former quarter-finalist, then imploded as Clijsters found her range, cruising to victory in an hour and 13 minutes in her first Wimbledon since 2006 after taking a maternity break from the game.

She will face 27th seed Maria Kirilenko in the third round, after the Russian beat American qualifier Shenay Perry 6-1 6-4.

Clijsters's compatriot Justine Henin took a hesitant step towards a first Wimbledon title when she came through her second-round contest 6-3 7-5 against Germany's Kristina Barrois.

Henin, twice a losing finalist at the All England Club, looked sharper than in her first-round match and used her pace and groundstroke power to muscle her way to the opening set in 33 minutes against the world number 73.

But the former world number one stuttered when letting a 5-2 lead slip in the second before breaking the German's serve once again to lead 6-5 and then holding to love when a Barrois forehand looped over the baseline after an hour and 22 minutes.

She will play 12th seed Nadia Petrova for a place in the fourth round, after the Russian beat Taiwan's Chan Yung-Jan 6-3 6-4.

Five-times champion Venus Williams made hay while the sun shone on Centre Court, thrashing Russia's Ekaterina Makarova 6-0 6-4 to book a place in the third round.

The 30-year-old second seed, appearing in her 50th Grand Slam tournament, raced to the opening set in just 25 minutes against the unseeded Russian who claimed her first career title at the grasscourt tune-up event at Eastbourne last week.

Makarova, ranked 67, offered more resistance in the second set but the American pulled through in 65 minutes.

She will now play Russian Alla Kudryavtseva or 26th seed Alisa Kleybanova for a place in the fourth round.

Reuters

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