If Kim Clijsters was miffed at being shunted from the show courts for her third round Olympic showdown, she sure didn’t show it on Wednesday.
She instead chose to channel the support from the close-range Belgians surrounding Court No.18 to dismiss Serbian 11th seed Ana Ivanovic and become the first player through to the Olympic women’s singles quarter-finals
While the 6-3, 6-4 win was an upset on paper, four-time major winner Clijsters was a heavy favourite to win the match having never lost to the flat-hitting Serb in five previous encounters.
It was a measured performance from the Belgian, hitting just 13 winners to Ivanovic’s 23 but forcing her into error 41 times to 18.
“The conditions were not easy today but it was a fun court to play on. Most of the TV courts are huge and there’s a lot of room around them but here you can really feel the impact of the crowd and it was very enjoyable,” Clijsters said.
“There was lots of Belgian support and Serbian too, it was fun.”
Clijsters will have to step it up a gear if she is to reach the medal play-offs. Her predicted quarter-final opponent is red-hot Russian Maria Sharapova or big-hitting German Sabine Lisicki.
“I feel like I’ve been playing some really good tennis in the first three matches here, it’s just a matter of trying to keep that up and before every match I need to refocus and stay on target,” Clijsters said.