KEY POINTS

  • Kim Clijsters returned to the singles tennis competition as a US Open wildcard draw
  • Ekaterina Alexandrova defeated Clijsters in three sets
  • Alexandrova is set to face Caty McNally in the second round

The multiple-time Grand Slam winner Kim Clijsters returned as a wildcard draw for the US Open the singles tour after eight years retired from the sport. The veteran star, however, fell short in the opening round of the US Open care of a three-set defeat in the hands of Ekaterina Alexandrova.

It was a 3-6, 7-5, 6-1 outcome as Clijsters is eliminated from the competition. Despite the early exit from the tournament, the three-time US Open champion shared that it was a memorable experience for her to be back on the court.

"I've been here for a while now without playing a match," Clijsters said by way of WTA.

The 37-year-old also won the Australian Open back in 2011 and is a two-time finalist for Roland Garros.

"That was a long, a long time to practice and be in the bubble for almost two weeks without playing a match. So I was excited to get out there and play my match. Obviously a late night tonight,” Clijsters continued.

The match featured both players exchanging rallies and displayed incredible tennis. But it was the aggressive pace of the 25-year-old Alexandrova that proved to be crucial as she tallied a total of 29 winners and six aces.

"But it's still fun to be out there. I enjoy it. My opponent is a great player. We had some good tennis out there. That's what it's all about, is trying to bring good tennis," Clijsters continued.

When asked how it was like to perform in such a unique environment, Alexandrova shared how it was a great experience to go through.

“It was amazing,” Alexandrova said.

Ranked as 29th in the world, the Russian player’s latest highlight in her career was winning the Shenzhen Open last January.

"She's a legend, and the fact that I beat her means so much for me. It's great experience and I'm just happy," Alexandrova added.

This year’s US Open features a unique situation with the games ongoing in closed doors. While Clijsters was unable to proceed in the further rounds, it was a big statement win for Alexandrova as she is set to face the American Caty McNally in her succeeding matchup.

Kim Clijsters waved goodbye to the WTA event in Dubai following first round defeat to Garbine Muguruza Kim Clijsters waved goodbye to the WTA event in Dubai following first round defeat to Garbine Muguruza Photo: AFP / KARIM SAHIB