Jan. 20 • In Melbourne Kim has qualified for the 3rd round, after a convincing win over Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro, 6-1, 6-3.
Kim easily dismissed her opponent in just one hour and two minutes, overpowering the same young Spaniard who had shocked Venus Williams in Melbourne two years ago.
The 27-year-old mother ripped 21 winners in the match to only six from Suarez, tore apart her second serve by winning 13 of 19 of Suarez's second serve points and breaking the Spaniard five times in the match. Kim thundered about the court, ripping winners off the ground, countering anything Suarez threw at her and consistently moving forward.
'I went out there with the intention to stay very aggressive and to not let my opponent play her game, and that is try to really mix it up, play with a lot of spin. She can only do that when she has a lot of time. I think it was really up to me to try to limit that from her, really be aggressive when I was out there, and I did.'
Since winning her third US Open title in September, Kim has won 18 of her last 20 matches, beating six top 10 players along the way. While her serve can be sporadic, it's a bigger weapon than it was before she briefly retired in 2006. The same can be said of her forehand, which is more lethal as well as more consistent. Plus, she's no longer a pure counter puncher and physically is one of the strongest women out there along with Serena Williams.
'I think I've been playing inside of the court really well', she said. 'A lot of girls, or like even the guys, they like to just get into the rally and kind of just wait until they really are certain. But I think there are a lot of opportunities in the beginning of the rallies already where you can really step forward and dictate and put your opponent under pressure. [Before I retired] I'm not as fit as I am now, I felt I needed to retrieve a little bit on the court. I'm strong enough to still be aggressive from even a little bit further behind. But now I think if I can use that power, being a meter closer to the baseline, it has a bigger impact on the way my shots go to my opponents.'
Kim, who was once nicknamed 'Aussie Kim' while she was engaged to men's player Lleyton Hewitt, has a number of close Australian friends including doubles standout Rennae Stubbs. During practice yesterday, Stubbs showed her a text she got from Tennis Australia's and Channel 7 commentator Todd Woodbridge and when Woodbridge went on court to interview Clijsters after her victory, the Belgian good-naturedly got her revenge.
'Yesterday after one of my practices, Rennae and I were sitting around, talking, laughing away', she recalled. 'We were talking about like babies, having a second one. All of a sudden she goes, "Yeah, Todd last week in Sydney wrote me a message during your match saying that he already thought you were pregnant." I was like, 'Oh, really?' And then she showed me. So I walk out there, it's like, "Okay, I'm going to get him back now." I saw Rennae in the locker room. She said "I can't believe you told them on centre court."'
In the 3rd round, Kim will face Alizé Cornet, who has rather surprisingly defeated Maria Jose Sanchez Martinez in straight sets.