Clijsters, Mauresmo win at Indian Wells
Reuters, Indian Wells, California
Former world number one Kim Clijsters, in her second event following a long injury lay-off, knocked out 16th seed Shinobu Asagoe of Japan 6-3 6-3 in the second round of the women's competition at the Pacific Life Open on Friday.
In her fifth match back after missing most of last year due to wrist surgery, Belgian Clijsters looked like she was getting back to the form that won her the title here in 2003.
"I feel like I'm hitting well and maybe a little bit more under control than before I got injured," said Clijsters, who now faces Anna Chakvetadze of Russia.
Second seed Amelie Mauresmo of France fared even better, crushing Italy's Tathiana Garbin 6-2 6-1.
Mauresmo has never played particularly well in the desert but is keen on making another run at the world number one ranking.
She is not far behind the top-ranked Lindsay Davenport and could leapfrog the American by winning the title.
"My serve was good, the consistency, the intensity I put into the ball didn't let her get into her rhythm or get into the match," Mauresmo said.
Number four seed Elena Dementieva of Russia also overcame American Abigail Spears 6-2 7-6 while countrywoman, fifth seed Svetlana Kuznetsova, defeated Czech Eva Birnerova 6-3 6-2.
Eighth seed Elena Bovina was ousted 6-3 6-1 by fellow Russian Maria Kirilenko while number nine Francesca Schiavone of Italy lost 6-3 7-6 to Japan's Rika Fujiwara.
It was the first day of action in the men's event but none of the seeds were on court.
Former French Open champion Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain put out Russian Igor Andreev 6-3 6-3 but 1999 Pacific Life champion Mark Philippoussis of Australia went down 7-6 6-1 to Frenchman Gregory Carraz.
Greg Rusedski maintained the form that helped Britain to Davis Cup victory in Israel last week when he beat American Jeff Salzenstein 3-6 7-5 6-3.
Battling jet lag after a long flight, Rusedski had trouble with his left-handed opponent but eventually found his game.
"I just felt I had to change things a little bit," Rusedski told reporters. "So I got a little bit more aggressive, started chipping and charging on his second serve and taking a few more risks."