Paris: Kim Clijsters became the first mother to be crowned world number one when she battled back from 3-0 down to defeat Australia’s Jelena Dokic 6-3, 6-0 in the Paris Open quarter-finals.The 27-year-old reigning US and Australian Open champion has now reached the top spot for the third time in her career.
The Belgian first hit the heights in 2003, when she was number one for 12 weeks, and then again in 2006, spending seven weeks at the head of the rankings. Clijsters, who was also US Open champion in 2005 and 2009, will officially knock Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki, who has yet to win a Grand Slam title, from the number one slot when the new WTA rankings are released on Monday.
“It’s incredible to have been successful so quickly after my comeback,” said Clijsters, who had retired in 2007 to start a family before returning to the tour in 2009 after giving birth to daughter Jade. “I have been playing really well for some months now. I am happy to have become number one here in Europe — the last time, it was in Los Angeles.”
Clijsters’s return to the top will bring a little respect back to the position which has lost some of its lustre in recent years. The retirements of Grand Slam winners Martina Hingis, Lindsay Davenport, Amelie Mauresmo and Justine Henin have damaged the top ranking’s credibility while Serena and Venus Williams are playing less and less. Clijsters has enjoyed a memorable last six months, winning all three of the last major tournaments, the US Open, Masters and Australian Open.