Clijsters in crusade to make everything look easy
By Mark Meadows
PARIS (Reuters) - New world number one Kim Clijsters is so comfortable in her own skin right now that she does not flinch even when trailing 4-0 and 3-0.
The Australian and U.S. Open champion has enormous self-belief after waltzing back into the upper echelons of tennis and playing as well as she did before, despite taking most of 2007-09 off to have a baby.
Clijsters rattled off 12 games in a row after an early wobble to down Australian Jelena Dokic 6-3 6-0 in the Paris Open quarter-finals on Friday and ensure she will leapfrog Dane Caroline Wozniacki at the top of the rankings on Monday.
However, such is her focus and ability to remain unflustered that she was almost embarrassed when given a giant number one-shaped bouquet and glass trophy.
"I feel no different from yesterday," Clijsters told a news conference.
"It's nice but it's also weird because you are in the middle of a tournament and getting a trophy," added the Belgian who was last world number one in 2006.
Clijsters trailed 4-0 and lost the first set of her opening match against Germany's Kristina Barrois on Wednesday but rallied without any noticeable change in demeanor, no shouting or racket slamming, to prevail 4-6 6-2 6-0.
Her ability to stay calm under pressure means her opponents turn as green with envy as her lime-colored outfit.
"I wasn't more tense," said top seed Clijsters of her tussle with Dokic. "It was just a slow start like my first match. I got a bit overpowered."
Someone who does not quite have the same stamina to keep going is Clijsters's daughter, who was meant to see her mother play on Friday.
"Jada was very tired tonight so she went back to the hotel," smiled the new world number one.
(Editing by Tony Jimenez. To query or comment on this story email firstname.lastname@example.org)