Earlier in the week in the opening round of play, the the unranked Belgian upset the 12th ranked Marion Bartoli of France 6-4, 6-3 before stopping the 20th ranked Patty Schnyder of Switzerland in round two.
But then Clijsters today staged another dramatic victory as she upset the 6th seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 in the third round. Kuznetsova, the reigning French Open champion took the US Open title in 2004.
“My mindset was really good,” Clijsters said. “I feel really good after this match. It's not that I feel tired or drained or anything, just a few little aches and pains from getting back into playing matches.”
In other third round play for Thursday, both of the Williams sister were upset by similar scorelines in two error-filled performances. The world number two Serena Williams of the USA lost to the unseeded Sybille Bammer of Austria 7-5, 6-4 only a few hours after her older sister Venus Williams was upset by the 14th seeded Flavia Pennetta of Italy 7-6(7-2), 6-4.
Venus Williams committed 38 unforced errors while Serena Williams turned in 44 errors of her own.
Clijsters can enter her Friday quarterfinal versus Safina with some confidence as head to head she leads the Russian 6-1 and holds a 3-0 lead on hardcourts.
In their last meeting in the round of sixteen at Rome, Clijsters defeated Safina 6-4, 7-6(7-2).
“You cannot lose your talent,” Safina said, referring to Clijsters. “You cannot lose anything.
It is there. If you are a great player, it doesn't matter.”
In August of 2003, Clijsters reached the WTA Tour's world number one ranking.