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Quality and quantity?
By Greg Garber
ESPN.com


NEW YORK -- Kim Clijsters had already won six tournaments and a staggering 67 matches when she finally hit the wall in Toronto. Staggering, literally staggering.




Kim Clijsters has won more tournaments than anyone else, but she still doesn't have a major title on her resume.


On Aug. 15, she took the first set from Lina Krasnoroutskaya, then lost the final two 6-4, 6-1 in the third round of the Rogers AT&T Cup. It was her most unlikely loss of the year -- only the second to someone not named Williams or Henin-Hardenne -- and it came 11 days after she rose to the No. 1 ranking.


Thus, after playing five consecutive weeks, the winningest player in professional tennis took a desperately needed vacation from match tennis. Ten days later, she emerged at the National Tennis Center looking refreshed and rejuvenated.


"That's nice if you can have the respect from people, but that doesn't mean because a lot of people think because I'm No. 1 in the world, the No. 1 seed here, that I'll get there like with nothing," Clijsters said after her first match. "I still feel like I have to do my job out there and that I have to, you know, work as hard as possible and I have to play my best tennis."


Four matches later, already into the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open, Clijsters hardly seems to be working. She eased through Sunday night's match with Meghann Shaughnessy, winning 6-2, 6-4. The next opponent is No. 5 seed Amelie Mauresmo, a 6-2, 6-2 winner over Tamarine Tanasugarn.


The No. 1 seed, by design, is supposed to have the easiest path to the final. In point of fact, Clijsters has had the toughest draw among the top players. In order, she's seen Amber Liu, Laura Granville, Svetlana Kuznetsova and now Shaughnessy.


For the record, she has won all eight sets she's played on Center Court at Arthur Ashe Stadium and matches have averaged just over 61 minutes. She's dropped only 18 games (4.5 per match) and has been broken only twice.


It has been an emphatic statement by one of the most doubted No. 1 seeds in recent history. With Serena and Venus Williams out with injuries and with Lindsay Davenport and Jennifer Capriati dogged by injuries, much has been made of the sorry state of the women's draw. That's because there is a gaping hole in Clijsters' otherwise impressive resume the size of something she could, well, choke on.


When Clijsters rose to the No. 1 spot, she, unlike her 11 predecessors, did not have a Grand Slam title in hand. Her consistency -- she reached 14 consecutive semifinals before the flameout in Toronto -- is what elevated her. She is only the third woman in 20 years to reach 11 singles finals by mid-August (the others were Chris Evert and Steffi Graf) and she has more victories (79) than any other player, man or woman.


Now, the question is, can she achieve quality as well as quantity?


Clijsters, 20, has failed in the massive moments, which is to say the Grand Slams.


As most tennis fans know, she led Serena Williams 5-1 in the third set of their Australian Open semifinal and, despite holding two match points, lost. At the French Open, she reached the final against fellow Belgian Justine Henin-Hardenne -- and got waxed 6-0, 6-4. At Wimbledon, she fell to an injured Venus Williams in the semifinals, losing the last set 6-1.


"In the beginning I was feeling OK," she said after the final at Roland Garros, "but still didn't have that rhythm that I had in some other matches here this week."


It's one thing to blow past folks like Marlene Weingartner and Paola Suarez, quite another against the likes of Henin-Hardenne and the Williams sisters. This is Clijsters' last chance this year to get it right.


Oddly, enough, this equals her deepest foray into the U.S. Open draw. She made the quarterfinal in 2001, but lost to Venus Williams. Last year, Mauresmo sent her home in the fourth round -- after Clijsters was up a set and a break. Sound familiar?


Clijsters hopes not.


"I feel better this year than I did last year," Clijsters said. "But still, the opponents only get better. I really feel, especially against Amelie, everything has to be at your best. Last year, out here, I wasn't playing my best tennis at all. There's been a bit of a change this year, definitely. "I feel like I definitely have the match rhythm. I feel very comfortable on the court."


Presuming she reaches the final, Clijsters' next three probable opponents are Mauresmo, Davenport and Henin-Hardenne. At best, that comfort level will be put to the test. At worst, people will wonder if Clijsters will ever have the heart of a champion.
 

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67 matches before september! Now that´s some QUANTITY, where´s the quality?! Serena and Justine have that: 3 slams, 4 tier I´s...that is quality!
 

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quality is the way to play tennis,the vicotries r the quantity...this is the difference.and kim's tennis has a lot of qualities!!!
u like or not she is n.1 and one of the best of last years,this is quantity and quality.
 

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maryjane said:
quality is the way to play tennis,the vicotries r the quantity...this is the difference.and kim's tennis has a lot of qualities!!!
u like or not she is n.1 and one of the best of last years,this is quantity and quality.
Really?! I´d take Serena´s ´02 and even Venus´s half ´00 anyday over Kim´s 03! Sorry, 70 + wins are great and all....but if you´re not winning GS´s I don´t care how many matches you won!
 

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tennisIlove09 said:
Not when you're ranked #1 with no slams and #2 ranked has 4 titles with 2 Slams. (and how interesting that Kim only has 2 more events won then Serena with twice as many events played)
You took the words out of my mouth!
 

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bandabou said:
Really?! I´d take Serena´s ´02 and even Venus´s half ´00 anyday over Kim´s 03! Sorry, 70 + wins are great and all....but if you´re not winning GS´s I don´t care how many matches you won!
djeezes...Kim IS #1, and she deserves it! So live with it!
 

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Bigkimfan said:
djeezes...Kim IS #1, and she deserves it! So live with it!
So you´re not even discussing it anymore?! All you got to say is: Kim´s no.1?! That only gives more power to my statement.
 

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i think kim deserves to be n.1,serena deserve it too.maybe it was more fair if serena was n.1 but if the computer of wta says that the n1 is kim there's a reason and that reason is that kim won a lot of tournments this year and played great...the major will arrive...in fact she was going to defeat both serena and venus in semifinal and lost in final in paris...we can't say she lost these matches without fighting...
 

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Please Kim fans don't get annoyed with this article. It is another of those very flattering ones coming out of america. If Kim had USA next to her name we wouldn't be seeing them.

Ad Bandabou again, how predictable of you to vie into the argument and write negative things about Kim. Sometimes peoplebecome completely obsessed with their faves, but you seem to be obsessed with disliking someone - now there is a problem.
 

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Please don't start it over again :eek: Kim is the number one on the rankings because she played a lot on a high level. If she's the best player in the world ... you can argue about it. Don't start talking about how bad the rankingsystem is because it won't change a thing. If Serena (or anybody else) is better she will get there back as soon she's going to play again.

I agree that her number 1 position would have more charisma (?) is she had won a major but hey it ain't so ... but she did play many and good matches this year.

And if I'm saying these sort of things it really went to far :eek:;)
 

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i think this discussion is stupid.
it's not kim's fault if she n.1 without winning a major.she's all she can on the court to win more matches and she always fights on that court to win a mayor so stop with the discussion if she deserves or not.she's playing good tennis and winning a lot of matches,about the mayor she's always so close to it that it will arrive...if u think she doesn't deserve to be n.1 now without a major send an email to wta,don't accuse kim!!!
 

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kim&lleytonrule said:
Please Kim fans don't get annoyed with this article. It is another of those very flattering ones coming out of america. If Kim had USA next to her name we wouldn't be seeing them.

Ad Bandabou again, how predictable of you to vie into the argument and write negative things about Kim. Sometimes peoplebecome completely obsessed with their faves, but you seem to be obsessed with disliking someone - now there is a problem.
Disliking, disliking?! Since when is not agreeing the same as disliking?! Only react because Kim-fans want to act like Kim´s having the best season ever in history of tennis and stuff, just because she became no.1! Guess what?! She isn´t !!

she´s having a good and consistent season, but there are people who are having a better season and whom have had a better season that Kim´s having. That´s all!

Never said she doesn´t deserve the no.1 ranking or anything. Hell, even Serena herself said that Kim deserved the no.1 ranking...so who I´m to disagree?!
 

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bandabou said:
Disliking, disliking?! Since when is not agreeing the same as disliking?! Only react because Kim-fans want to act like Kim´s having the best season ever in history of tennis and stuff, just because she became no.1! Guess what?! She isn´t !!

she´s having a good and consistent season, but there are people who are having a better season and whom have had a better season that Kim´s having. That´s all!

Never said she doesn´t deserve the no.1 ranking or anything. Hell, even Serena herself said that Kim deserved the no.1 ranking...so who I´m to disagree?!
great! :worship: End of discussion :worship: ;) :D
 

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bandabou said:
Disliking, disliking?! Since when is not agreeing the same as disliking?! Only react because Kim-fans want to act like Kim´s having the best season ever in history of tennis and stuff, just because she became no.1! Guess what?! She isn´t !!

she´s having a good and consistent season, but there are people who are having a better season and whom have had a better season that Kim´s having. That´s all!

Never said she doesn´t deserve the no.1 ranking or anything. Hell, even Serena herself said that Kim deserved the no.1 ranking...so who I´m to disagree?!
maybe it is that everytime I see a post of yours on this board, it is in a Kim thread yet you say blatantly dislike her. Deny it all you will, but it is obvious you don't like the girl. Why are you so obsessed with going into Kim relate threads when all you are going to do is post crap, you never post anything nice or good about the girl - so obviously you don't like her.
 
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