Kim Clijsters reached the semi-finals of the ’s-Hertogenbosch grass-court tournament on Thursday, defeating Italy’s Francesca Schiavone 6-3, 7-6 (9/7).
Former world No. 1 Clijsters, who before this week had not played since March because of a right hip injury, was the champion in this pre-Wimbledon event in 2003.
And she showed on Thursday that she could be a genuine threat at this year’s Wimbledon which starts on Monday.
“It was a very intense match. Schiavone is a player who keeps fighting and has all sorts of different strokes. It is very important to stay focused,” said Clijsters, who will face Poland’s Urszula Radwanska for a place in the final.
“I am very happy that I can play an additional match before I go to Wimbledon,” added the 28-year-old Belgian who will retire after the US Open.
In the men’s tournament, world No. 6 David Ferrer dropped just three points on serve in a 6-0, 6-1 rout of Dutch wild card Igor Sijsling.
“Sometimes you find good feelings and sometimes it works,” Ferrer said. “Today I was very good throughout the match, attacking well with my first serve, and maybe he was a little bit nervous.”
The top-seeded Ferrer is bidding to win this grass-court tournament for the second time after victory on his debut in 2008.
Ferrer goes onto face France’s Benoit Paire, who fired 15 aces as he defeated Japan’s Tatsuma Ito 6-3, 7-5 in 72 minutes. German qualifier Philipp Petzschner struck 14 aces and broke serve twice as he overcame Frenchman Edouard Roger-Vasselin 6-4, 7-6 (8/6) in one hour and 35 minutes. He will face Belgium’s Xavier Malisse, who battled past Gilles Muller of Luxembourg 6-3, 4-6, 6-1 in 86 minutes.