Retiring Kim Clijsters ousted by Brit teen

02:42, Aug 30 2012
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Andy Murray is all smiles during his first round match against Alex Bogomolov Jr of Russia.
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Officials attempt to dry the court after a rain delay on day one.
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Nadia Petrova of Russia reacts during her women's singles first round match against Jarmila Gajdosova of Australia.
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James Blake is pumped up after winning a point against Lukas Lacko of Slovakia.
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Sam Stosur returns a ball during her first round win over Petra Martic.
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Marion Bartoli of France stretches to reach a ball in her opening round match.
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Alex Bogomolov Jr stretches to play a backhand against Andy Murray.
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Dark clouds loom over Flushing Meadows on day one of the US Open.
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It's all too much for some as a ball girl takes a nap in the stands.
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No 3 seed Maria Sharapova returns a ball in her first round match.
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Lucie Safarova signs tennis balls for fans after her first round win over Melanie Oudin.
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An Australian fan gets into the spirit as he supports Matthew Ebden in his first round match.
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Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland serves during her first round victory over Russian Nina Bratchikova.
Andy Roddick
Andy Roddick's red, white and blue kicks at the US Open.
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Venus Williams signs autographs for fans after her first round victory.
Thomas Berdych
Thomas Berdych signs autographs for fans.
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Fans walk the grounds during day two of the 2012 US Open.
Caroline Wozniacki
Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark takes an injury time-out during her match to Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania.
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Novak Djokovic hits a forehand during his first round win over Paolo Lorenzi.
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Serena Williams in action during her first round match against Coco Vandeweghe.
Victoria Azarenka
World No 1 Victoria Azarenka (right) shakes hands with Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium after her straight sets victory.
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Laura Robson of Great Britain celebrates after beating Kim Clijsters in the second round.
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Juan Martin Del Potro in mid serve during his first round match.
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Li Na prepares to serve in the shadows during the second round.
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Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia returns a shot from Guillaume Rufin during their first round match.
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Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany eyes the ball as he plays a shot against Michael Llodra.
Kim Clijsters
Reitring Kim Clijsters waves goodbye for the last time to the Flushing Meadows crowd after her defeat to British teen Laura Robson.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga packs his bags and exits the US Open after his four-set loss to Slovakian Martin Klizan in the second round.
Ana Ivanovic
Ana Ivanovic blew by Swede Sofia Arvidsson 6-2 6-2 in 64 minutes to reach the third round at the US Open.
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Serena Williams hits a shot during her second round match against Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez.
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Philipp Petzschner of Germany reacts during his men's singles second round match against Nicolas Almagro.
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Agnieszka Radwanska returns a shot during her second round match.
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Jo-Wilfried Tsonga reacts during his second round loss to Martin Klizan of Slovakia.
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Kei Nishikori of Japan serves against Tim Smyczek in the second round.
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Maria Kirilenko signs autographs for fans after her second round win.
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Roger Federer thanks the crowd after winning his second round match.
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Lucie Safarova serves during her third round match against Nadia Petrova.
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Maria Sharapova serves during her third round win against Mallory Burdette.
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Novak Djokovic returns a shot during his second round match.
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Lleyton Hewitt is pumped up during his tight encounter with Gilles Muller.
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Ryan Harrison reacts after a point during his singles loss to Juan Martin Del Potro.
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Teenager Laura Robson is swamped by fans and media after beating Li Na.
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Serena Williams returns a shot against Ekaterina Makarova in the third round.
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Feliciano Lopez wipes the sweat from his face during his four set loss to Andy Murray.
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Andy Murray eyes his next shot during his match against Feliciano Lopez.
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Novak Djokovic pumps his fist after defeating Julien Benneteau of France 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 to reach the US Open fourth round.
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Australian Sam Stosur plays against British teen Laura Robson as shadows creep across Flushing Meadows.
Richard Gasquet
Frenchman Richard Gasquet signs autographs after defeating American Steve Johnson.
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Fabio Fognini hits the court after being beaten by a shot from American Andy Roddick.
Gilles Simon
Gilles Simon wipes sweat from his face during his defeat against American Mardy Fish.
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Maria Sharapova serves against Nadia Petrova during their round of 16 match.
Serena Williams
Serena Williams did not drop a game as she rolled Andrea Hlavackova 6-0 6-0 in 57 minutes to reach the quarterfinals.
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Serbian Ana Ivanovic reached her first grand slam quarterfinal in four years, defeating Bulgaria's Tsvetana Pironkova.
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Roberta Vinci of Italy hits a return to Agnieszka Radwanska.
Martin Klizan
Martin Klizan of the of Slovakia hits a return to Marin Cilic of Croatia.
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Mike Bryan (left) and Bob Bryan of the United States celebrate as they bump chests during their men's doubles third round match against Santiago Gonzalez of Mexico and Scott Lipsky of the United States.
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Andrea Hlavackova of the Czech Republic lunges for a return against Serena Williams.
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Andy Murray plays a backhand during his straight sets demolition of Canadian Milos Raonic in the US Open fourth round.
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Marion Bartoli serves during her quarter-final against Maria Sharapova.
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David Ferrer returns a shot during his fourth round match against Richard Gasquet.
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Victoria Azarenka reacts during her quarter-final win over Samantha Stosur.
Maria Sharapova
Maria Sharapova returns a shot in her match against Marion Bartoli.
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Grounds crew dry the court after rain suspended play.
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Novak Djokovic returns a shot during his win over Stan Wawrinka.
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Maria Sharapova stretches for the ball during her quarter-final win over Marion Bartoli.
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Stan Wawrinka smashes his racket in frustration during his loss to Novak Djokovic.
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Andy Roddick in action in his rain delayed match against Juan Martin Del Potro.
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Andy Roddick waves goodbye to the Flushing Meadow crowd after his final professional match.
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Andy Murray can barely be seen through the fans scrambling for his autograph after his victory over Marin Cilic.
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Andy Murray lets out a roar during his four-set win over Croatian Marin Cilic.
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Andy Roddick makes his final farewell at Flushing Meadow after his loss to Juan Martin del Potro.
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Ana Ivanovic stretches for a backhand drop-shot during her defeat at the hands of Serena Williams.
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David Ferrer returns a shot against Janko Tipsarevic.
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Victoria Azarenka plays a backhand shot as she outlasted Maria Sharapova to reach the women's singles final at the US Open.
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Maria Sharapova screams after winning a vital point against Victoria Azarenka in the US Open women's semifinals.
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The Bryan brothers do a celebratory chest-bump after claiming the US Open men's doubles title.
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Serena Williams lost just three games as she blazed past Italy's Sara Errani in the US Open semifinals.
Sara Errani
Italy's Sara Errani feels the pain of a crushing semifinal defeat at the hands of Serena Williams.
Victoria Azarenka
World No 1 Victoria Azarenka dances after her three-set victory over Maria Sharapova.
Andy Murray
Andy Murray recovered from losing the first set to defeat Czech Tomas Berdych in four sets to reach the final.
Tomas Berdych
Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic kicks the ball out of frustration during his semifinal loss to Andy Murray.
David Ferrer and Novak Djokovic
David Ferrer (left) and Novak Djokovic discuss the postponement of their semifinal with tournament director Brian Earley.
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The big screen at Arthur Ashe Stadium advises spectators of the postponement of play at the US Open.
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After early rain, the sun came out, amid high winds, at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
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A morning storm forced a 90-minute delay to the first men's semifinal between Andy Murray and Tomas Berdych.
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Victoria Azarenka waits for Serena Williams to serve during the women's final.
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Serena Williams is at full stretch during the final against Victoria Azarenka.
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Victoria Azarenka serves during the women's final.
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Serena Williams reacts after beating Victoria Azarenka to win her fourth US Open.
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Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka pose for photos after the trophy presentation.
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Novak Djokovic serves to Andy Murray during the men's final.
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Andy Murray reacts after a missed shot during the men's final.
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Andy Murray serves to Novak Djokovic in front of packed Arthur Ashe stadium.
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Novak Djokovic of Serbia returns a shot during his men's singles final match against Andy Murray.
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Andy Murray returns a shot during his men's singles final match against Novak Djokovic.
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Andy Murray of Great Britain reacts after winning the US Open.
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Andy Murray shakes hands with Novak Djokovic after their US Open finals clash.
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Andy Murray celebrates after defeating Novak Djokovic.
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Andy Murray with the US Open trophy.
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Andy Murray with the US Open trophy.
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Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic following their US Open final.

The star-studded career of Kim Clijsters ended in the place where it all began today, just not quite in the way she would have wanted.

The popular Belgian, who won as many friends for her bubbly, generous character as for her 'eyeballs-out' tennis and fighting spirit, saw her hopes of a fairytale goodbye dashed by British teenager Laura Robson in the second round of the US Open.

The three-times champion was stunned 7-6 7-6 by an inspired Robson, a final backhand return drifting over the baseline and with it floated away the Belgian's dreams of a fourth title.

"It completely feels like the perfect place to retire," Clijsters told the crowd on Arthur Ashe Stadium. "I just wish it wasn't today."

Clijsters led 5-3 in the first set and had three set points at 6-5 but the 18-year-old Briton fought back to win the first tiebreak 7-4 and then, after missing two match points at 6-5, won the second tiebreak 7-5.

After she had lost her first four grand slam finals, it seemed like Clijsters might go down as a perennial runner-up before she finally won the US Open in 2005.

Following a two-year retirement from 2007 to 2009, during which she had her first child, she returned to win a second US Open title in just her third event back.

A third US Open trophy followed in 2010 and Clijsters added the Australian Open title in 2011 to give her four grand slam singles crowns in all.

FINEST MOMENTS

But it was New York where she enjoyed her finest moments and having made the decision to quit, for good, she chose Flushing Meadows as the place to say goodbye.

"After I won in 2005, every time I came back here I was so inspired by the energy I felt on this court," she said. "I've played some of my best tennis here.

"Since I retired the first time, it's been a great adventure for me and my family. It's all been worth it but I do look forward to the next part.

"For two years I maybe picked up a racquet once. I had my daughter and then my Dad died at the start of 2009 so it was an emotional roller-coaster. When I won here, it was so hard to take it all in."

Robson, who could hardly believe what she had achieved, said Clijsters was a player she had long looked up to.

"I want to say thank you to Kim," the teenager said, after reaching the third round of a grand slam for the first time.

"She's been such a great role model for me for many years. I've grown up watching you and it's been a pleasure to play against you."

Clijsters said she had done everything she could to postpone her retirement for at least one more round.

"Laura played extremely well," she said. "I fought and I gave it my all, it just wasn't good enough at the end of the match.

"But I'm still in the doubles and the mixed," the Belgian laughed.

PLAYERS APPLAUD CLIJSTERS

In her moment of glory, Robson led the praise for a player who is undoubtedly the most popular in the locker room, calling her a role model to young players, while Maria Sharapova and Sam Stosur were quick to add their feelings.

"I can't say enough nice things about her," Sharapova said. "She was a tremendous athlete, a really good competitor.

"(But) the nicest thing you saw about her was her commitment to the sport but also wanting to have a great family life, retiring from the sport to have that and then coming back and achieving things in winning the U.S. Opens that she did and the Australian Open."

Defending champion Stosur said "the whole tour" was going to miss having Clijsters around.

"She's been a great player and a great person. She's definitely one of those people that you can look up to and really admire with what she's been able to achieve."

The Belgian admitted that hearing her fellow players talk so warmly about her was something extra special.

"It does something to you when you hear other players talk about me like that," she said.

"Obviously in these two rounds that I've played here, I've played players that I spoke to and they said that I inspired them. That's a great feeling because I was once in that situation as well."

Kim Clijsters
FINAL GOODBYE: Reitring Kim Clijsters waves goodbye for the last time to the Flushing Meadows crowd after her defeat to British teen Laura Robson.

LI RECOVERS FROM LAPSE

Meanwhile, China's Li Na recovered from a mid-match lapse to beat Australian Casey Dellacqua 6-4 6-4 and reach the third round.

The ninth seed, who has never been past the quarter-finals in New York, recovered from 4-0 down in the second set to reach the last 32.

Former French Open champion Li edged the first set but Dellacqua, a left-hander ranked 92nd in the world, blasted a series of winners to move clear in the second.

But Li recovered her poise in time to reel off six straight games and set up a clash with either three-time champion Kim Clijsters of Belgium or Britain's Laura Robson.

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Reuters