FEB. 5 • The first two rubbers of the Belgium-USA Fed Cup match have been played today and it's 2-0 for the home team, as Yanina Wickmayer and Kim Clijsters have won their first singles matches.
Kim made a heroic return to her country a week after her Australian Open triumph with a champion’s display against Oudin (6-0 6-4). The 19 year-old had dreamt of playing her idol and was somewhat overwhelmed at the start, winning just two points in the first four games and only seven in the whole of the first set.
Trailing 2-0 in the second set Oudin must have feared a first career double bagel. But having at last got a game on the board she then competed admirably, won three games in a row and gave Kim rather more to think about.
Having said that it wasn’t too long before Kim had created another break and to the delight of her hordes of admirers, Belgium’s best duly served out the match with her third ace.
'It was fun to be out here playing again', said Kim. 'Obviously it’s nice to come here and play here after a win ‘cos the people have been so supportive. I’ve kept them up during the night with the time change with Australia and it’s nice to be back here, but I do look forward to having a few days off.'
Before she does she must at least face Mattek-Sands in Sunday’s first reverse singles, with Wickmayer then due to take on Oudin. But the chances of that latter encounter and an ensuing doubles being ‘live’ rubbers seem very slim indeed.