(29 AUGUST) So this is it. Kim has just played her final professional singles tennis match. In the 2nd round of the US Open, Laura Robson proved too strong and defeated Kim in straight sets 7-6(4) 7-6(5).
Early in the match, Kim seemed ready to advance comfortably after racing to a 4-1 lead in the first set. Robson, however, had other ideas for the Belgian after the athletic game of Kim began to break down slightly. While serving for the set at 5-3, the Belgian faltered allowing Robson back into the match.
She wouldn’t win a game until 5-all on her serve as Robson’s movement improved and the Brit’s power game proved on par with Kim’s.
The Brit next took the match into a tiebreak and, after saving three set points, converted her first opportunity to grab a lead her first break point with help from a Kim return error.
In the second set, however, the Belgian would take the lead early on with help from faults from the Robson serve. On her own serve a game later, Kim struck a double fault of her own to donate back a game.
A tight battle between the two women ensued soon after, with Robson ultimately earning two match points on Kim's serve at 6-5. The Belgian, however, summoned the form that earned her so many titles in a celebrated career to get to a second set tiebreak in which she saved two first match points. Ultimately, however, Kim faltered after Robson's serve forced a mistake from the Belgian's backhand wing.
Despite the end to her singles career, Clijsters will still play in both the doubles and mixed doubles events.
'I just want to thank Kim for being such a good role model for me for so many years', Robson said in her on-court interview straight after the match. 'It was an absolute pleasure to play against you.'
'This feels like the perfect place to retire, I just wish it wasn't today', Kim said. 'I gave it my all today and it just wasn't good enough at the end of the match. But I'm still in doubles and mixed doubles.'
'Since I came back it's been a great adventure for me, my team and my family, and it has all been worth it, but I'm excited for the next part of my life.'
'In the first hour after the match there was still disappointment and a little bit of frustration. I still had that routine of going through the match and trying to figure out how to do it better next time. But after thinking about the retirement in singles, I'm happy. The last year and a half or even two years have been kind of up and down, and I'm happy I stuck through it and lived a lot of these emotions I've had. I'm kind of proud of myself in a way that I was able to do that.'
'Even moments like today where I'm able to save those match points, those are definitely moments that are fun to have, fighting for it when you're not playing your best, playing with your back against the wall and still finding a way to come back and play well.'
'I knew before I stepped on court I would have to play well. I've practiced with Laura at Wimbledon – we had a really good practice, and I told my team she hits the ball so clean. Today she moved really well and anticipated really well. If she gets better physically and even more explosive, she's going to be a great player, and someone I'll be watching and keeping an eye on.'
'The words she said on court after the match were so nice. I got a little bit emotional there. It was nice to hear those things from another player.'
Kim will however be back on court as soon as today as she plays her women's doubles 1st round match with Kirsten Flipkens. They'll play the pair Chuang/Zhang in the second match on Court 4, so not before 12.30pm, local time.