Bartoli, who plays a Monica Seles-esque powerful two-handed baseline game, defeated the former world number one Venus Williams of the USA two weeks ago in the Bank of the West championship final 6-2, 5-7, 6-4.
However the 26 year old Clijsters leads the 24 year old Bartoli head to head 1-0 after having crushed the Frenchwoman 6-1, 6-1 in the San Diego round of sixteen in 2003. Clijsters no doubt will meet a more improved Bartoli at Cincinnati however.
Should the Belgian advance past Bartoli, she could meet even tougher opponents as all seven of the top seven WTA Tour players are entered in the Cincinnati tournament.
Clijsters could face the world number one Dinara Safina of Russia in the quarterfinals, Venus Williams in the semifinals and the Wimbledon and US Open champion Serena Williams in the final.
In August of 2003, Clijsters topped the WTA Tour rankings. Two years later in 2005, Clijsters defeated Mary Pierce of France 6-3, 6-1 in the US Open final to win her lone singles grand slam title.
Clijsters, known for her friendly demeanor and acrobatic splits on the tennis courts, left the WTA Tour in May of 2007, citing injuries and a desire to start a family life.
Clijsters married the American basketball player Brian Lynch in July of that same year and gave birth to a daughter in February of 2008.
Looking at her toughest competition, Clijsters leads Safina head to head 6-1 but trails both Williams sisters for a combined 5-13.