Kim Clijsters out of Indian Wells after first-round defeat

Two-time champion Clijsters was knocked out of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells by Katerina Siniakova after her first appearance in ten years.

Siniakova saw off her opponent in a match ending 6-1, 2-6, 6-2, registering her first singles win since the first round of the US Open.

Clijsters, formally world no one, said: “Last week in Chicago, I started off well, but had a few games where I just really wasn’t into the match.

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“Here too, just looking for my rhythm, my anticipation again, reading my opponents, getting used to playing on a bigger court again, a lot of different things. I fought my way into the match well in that second set, and I kind of put her under pressure a little bit better.

I think overall, there’s definitely moments where I’m feeling really good out there, and there’s moments where I feel too inconsistent. That’s part of this process in general, it’s not going to be a smooth ride, and that’s what I’m going to try to improve every time I’m out there.

Current world no 53 Siniakova took advantage of key points in the game more than her Belgian opponent. Both players held nine break points, with Siniakova converting six of hers to Clijsters’ three.

After the match, Siniakova said: “It was really special, I was actually looking forward [to this], because I remember when I was young, and I was watching her play, and she always did amazing.

So it’s unbelievable I could stay with her on the court.

Siniakova will face another former world no 1 Angelique Kerber in the second round.

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Indian Wells order of play – Raducanu and Murray to headline Friday night session

Context

The order of play for Thursday, October 7 at Indian Wells, the prestigious event often billed as the ‘fifth Grand Slam’, with British star duo Emma Raducanu and Andy Murray waiting to take to the match court in Friday’s night session as the headliners.

For Thursday’s schedule, American home favourite Francis Tiafoe and the legendary Kim Clijsters are among those in action in the California desert.

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Brit watch

British fans will have to wait until Friday to get seriously excited with Raducanu and Murray both headlining the night session.

The US Open champion will be the star of the show with all eyes on her to see if she can continue the incredible form that inspired her to her remarkable triumph at Flushing Meadows.

As for Murray, he is appearing as a wildcard having last participated at Indian Wells when he was the world No. 1 back in 2017.

Dan Evans and Cameron Norrie are also involved in this tournament, but no Brits are in action on Thursday.

Match of the day

The ever explosive Benoit Paire taking on home favourite Frances Tiafoe could well be the pick of the matches and features in the night session on Stadium 1.

It will also be intriguing to see how Kim Clijsters gets on as she takes on Katerina Siniakova in her latest comeback. The 38-year-old has four Grand Slam singles titles to her name and the fans will be right behind her.

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Order of play

Stadium 1 – all courts from 19:00 UK time

  • Daniel Altmaier v Sam Querrey
  • Tommy Paul v Feliciano Lopez
  • Katerina Siniakova v Kim Clijsters
  • Benoit Paire v Frances Tiafoe
  • En-Shuo Liang v Alison Riske

Stadium 2

  • Caroline Garcia v Kirsten Flipkens
  • Marketa Vondrousova v Viktorija Golubic
  • Kei Nishikori v Joao Sousa
  • Amanda Anisimova v Katrina Scott
  • Alejandro Davidovich Fokina v Steve Johnson

Stadium 3

  • Alexei Popyrin v Miomir Kecmanovic
  • Mackenzie McDonald v James Duckworth
  • Marcos Giron v Botic van de Zandschulp
  • Lauren Davis v Nuria Parrizas Diaz
  • Claire Liu v Anna Kalinskaya

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Stadium 4

  • Elsa Jacquemot v Dayana Yastremska
  • Anastasija Sevastova v Polona Hercog
  • Donna Vekic v Astra Sharma
  • Salvatore Caruso v Zachary Svajda
  • Vasek Pospisil v J.J. Wolf

Stadium 5

  • Philipp Kohlschreiber v Taro Daniel
  • Thiago Monteiro v Tennys Sandgren
  • Maxime Cressy v Laslo Djere
  • Renzo Olivo v Roberto Carballes Baena

Stadium 6

  • Anna Karolina Schmiedlova v Ana Konjuh
  • Martina Trevisan v Marie Bouzkova
  • Saisai Zheng v Magdalena Frech
  • Mayar Sherif v Danka Kovinic
  • Usue Maitane Arconada v Ajla Tomljanovic

Stadium 7

  • Carlos Taberner v Jaume Munar
  • Soonwoo Kwon v Guido Pella

Stadium 8

  • Nao Hibino v Zarina Diyas

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Raducanu faces potential Halep clash in Indian Wells third round

Emma Raducanu could face her idol Simona Halep in a blockbuster third-round match at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.

Raducanu, 18, will be competing for the first time since her stunning US Open victory last month.

She has a bye for the first round as she is the 17th seed, so will start her first-ever WTA 1000 tournament against world no 71 Maria Camila Osorio or world no 1000 Aliaksandra Sasnovich in the second round on Friday or Saturday.

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Halep, who is seeded 11th, won Indian Wells in 2015 and was born in Romania, along with Raducanu’s father Ian. She opens against Zhang Shuai or Marta Kostyuk in the second round.

Raducanu, now ranked no 22 in the world, will be coached by former British no 1 Jeremy Bates in Indian Wells following her split with Andrew Richardson after the US Open.

If she gets past Halep then seventh seed Petra Kvitova and fourth seed Elina Svitolina could be her next potential opponents.

Fellow Brit Katie Boulter did not make it through qualifying, but Heather Watson faces a tough first-round match as she faces former US Open champion Sloane Stephens.

A potential standout third-round match would see Grand Slam champions Kvitova and Victoria Azarenka face off.

Two-time Indian Wells champion Kim Clijsters, who is playing the event for the first time since 2011 as she continues her comeback, will start against world no 53 Katerina Siniakova. The winner of that match will face former world no 1 Angelique Kerber in the second round.

Madison Keys starts against Kaia Kanepi while defending champion Bianca Andreescu will meet either Alison Riske or a qualifier in the second round, and US Open runner-up Leylah Fernandez will face either Alize Cornet or a qualifier after her first-round bye.

The top four seeds at the tournament are Karolina Pliskova, Iga Swiatek, and Svitolina.

The women’s first round starts on Wednesday, October 6, with the men’s draw to be conducted Tuesday.

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Murray and Clijsters receive Indian Wells wildcards

Andy Murray will play the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells for the first time since 2017 after getting a wildcard for the tournament.

The former world No 1 has not played the Masters 1000 for several seasons, having spent the last few years carefully managing his return from injury.

Murray’s best showing in Indian Wells came in 2015 when he made the semi-finals, and he will look to improve upon that as part of his rehabilitation and return to top level tennis.

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Murray is currently playing in the San Diego Open and faces second seed Casper Ruud in the early hours of Friday morning UK time.

Former women’s world No 1 Kim Clijsters and two-time champion at Indian Wells has also been given a wildcard.

She announced her return to tennis in 2019 after a seven-year hiatus from the sport, and was beaten by Hsieh Su-Wei in her latest comeback match at the Chicago Falls Tennis Classic this week.
Emma Raducanu will also be competing after getting a main draw wildcard following her shock US Open victory in September.

The tournament, which has been postponed from March due to the Covid-19 pandemic, will be held October 4-17.

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'I've made progress' – Clijsters falls to Hsieh in three sets in comeback match

Former world number one Kim Clijsters was beaten 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 against Hsieh Su-Wei in her comeback match at the Chicago Falls Tennis Classic on Monday.

The 38-year-old was playing for the first time since the 2020 US Open after accepting a wild card into the event, but fell to a defeat in the opening round.

Clijsters feels like her game is improving despite the three-sets defeat.

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“Obviously, it was exciting to go back out there after a long period of recovery,” Clijsters said in her post-match press conference.

“Super excited to be here and to start my match. The match, you know, some good things and bad things, inconsistency.

“Physically being able to get through these matches without big concerns, that was the main goal. I came close today, but I still have a good feeling.

I’ve made progress, and I think that’s the most important thing. What I’m looking at is that I’m improving overall, and that’s the positive thing.

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Clijsters came back from retirement in February 2020 and played in two WTA Tour events before the global Covid-19 outbreak saw the tennis calendar get suspended.

The four-time Grand Slam champion returned for the US Open last year but lost to Russia’s Ekaterina Alexandrova before requiring knee surgery. Clijsters then contracted coronavirus in January this year.

Clijsters is making her third comeback in the sport. After winning the US Open in 2005, she retired in 2007 before returning in 2009. She won the US Open again in the same year as an unseeded wild card.

She went on to defend her title in 2010 and won the Australian Open in 2011 before retiring for a second time in 2012.

Clijsters says she is taking inspiration from former British number one Andy Murray as she looks to return to the top of the sport.

“Seeing Andy Murray and the way he speaks about his comeback and everything, it’s so motivating and it gives you a lot of energy too,” Clijsters said.

“To see him go through the things he’s gone through and be open about the challenges of it and the belief that he has, I feel like it’s something I can relate to.”

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Laver Cup, Indian Wells, ATP & WTA Finals: What's left of the 2021 tennis season?

The Grand Slam season may be over for another year, but there is still plenty of life left in the 2021 tennis season.

Daniil Medvedev and Emma Raducanu were crowned singles champions in New York, and attentions now turn to the remaining three months of the calendars.

Players will not be heading to the Far East as they have in previous years as tournaments have been cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but there are Masters events, the Laver Cup, and the season-ending finals to look forward to…

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Laver Cup

While September features ATP 250 events in Europe and the USA – and Andy Murray playing on the Challenger Tour in France – the highlight is likely to be the Laver Cup.

After not being played last year due to scheduling issues, the team tournament will return for a fourth edition in Boston from September 24-26 September.

Team Europe have won all three times so far, but will be without Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. They still boast a strong line-up with newly-crowned US Open champion Medvedev set to play along with world No 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas and world No 4 Alexander Zverev.

But will Team World finally get a win? Nick Kyrgios is on John McEnroe’s side along with Canadian duo Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime. A raucous atmosphere is guaranteed as the best players on the ATP Tour compete alongside each other for three days.

Chicago Fall Classic and Ostrava Open

The two next big stops on the WTA Tour are the indoor Ostrava Open in the Czech Republic and the outdoor Chicago Fall Classic.

The WTA 500 events run in back-to-back weeks starting on September 20 and will see different players competing at both. Czech Karolina Pliskova will play the Ostrava Open along with US Open quarter-finalist Elina Svitolina, Iga Swiatek and French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova.

World No 2 Aryna Sabalenka is set to play in Chicago along with Bianca Andreescu, Garbine Muguruza, Petra Kvitova and Belinda Bencic. Raducanu may also feature although her schedule after winning the US Open is uncertain.

Former world No 1 Kim Clijsters has taken a wild card for the event and will make her first competitive appearance since last year’s US Open. The 38-year-old came out of retirement in February 2020 but hasn’t played in 2021 after undergoing knee surgery and then contracting Covid-19.

Indian Wells

Usually played earlier in the year, the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells is the biggest event remaining on the ATP and WTA calendar. It has been rescheduled to run from October 4 to October 17 and will feature most of the top players in the world.

Djokovic, Ashleigh Barty and Naomi Osaka are all on the entry list, with Serena Williams and Dominic Thiem among the few big-names missing out.

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Image credit: Getty Images

Indian Wells, which is an ATP and WTA 1000 event, was not played last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but will be at full capacity this time around. Carlos Alcaraz, Leylah Fernandez and Coco Gauff are set to make their debuts at the tournament.

It is the penultimate Masters event on the ATP Tour before the Paris Masters, which starts on November 1.

ATP Finals

Turin will host the ATP Finals for the first time after they were switched from London.

The top eight players in the world qualify for the tournament, with world No 1 Djokovic and 2019 and 2020 champions Tsitsipas and Medvedev so far confirmed. Zverev, Andrey Rublev, Matteo Berrettini, Casper Ruud and Hubert Hurkacz are set to fill the remaining places as it stands.

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The tournament starts on November 14, a week after the NextGen Finals, which are for the eight best players of the season aged 21 and under.

Auger-Aliassime, Sinner, Alcaraz, Sebastian Korda, Jenson Brooksby, Lorenzo Musetti, Juan Manuel Cerundolo and Brandon Nakashima are currently set to qualify for the event in Milan.

WTA Finals

The uncertainty over the WTA Finals was ended this week as it was confirmed the season-ending tournament will be played for one year only in Guadalajara, Mexico.

With tournaments in the Far East cancelled due to the pandemic, the event has had to be moved from Shenzhen, China, where it was first played in 2019. As with the ATP Finals, the top eight singles players and doubles teams of the year will play in Guadalajara.

World No 1 Barty will be the defending champion and as it stands will be joined by Sabalenka, Pliskova, Krejcikova, Swiatek, Maria Sakkari, Osaka and Muguruza.

2022 Australian Open

Less than two months after the 2021 season finishes, the first Grand Slam of 2022 takes place in Melbourne.

Djokovic will be bidding to win his record-breaking 21st major while Barty will be hoping to lift the trophy on home soil.

The tournament runs from January 17 to January 30 and will be shown live on Eurosport and discovery+ after a new long-term deal was agreed.

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