Kim Clijsters of Belarus began play last night at the 2012 U.S. Open in what she has announced will be her final appearance at the event. Her round one opponent,16-year-old American wild card Victoria Duval, was defeated 6-3, 6-1 by Clijsters, the Belgian's 22nd consecutive U.S. Open victory under the lights at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
"I was just excited to be out there and to have the opportunity to play in this kind of condition, prime time," said Clijsters in her post-match interview. "A night match is always a very special occasion. The energy, when you step
out on court also after the opening show, the stadium was almost full. So it was a lot of fun to go out there."
Duval earned an invitation to the year's last Grand Slam tournament from the USTA by winning the Under-18 U.S. National Championship. The 16-year-old Duval is currently ranked 562nd, and was appearing in the first tour-level main-draw match of her career.
Up next for Clijsters will be a second-round match against 18-year-old Laura Robson of Great Britain, a 6-3, 7-6 (6) winner against Samantha Crawford of the United States.
"I think once she settled down, I think she was pretty happy with the way that she played," said Clijsters of Duval. "So that's good to know that she's pleased with the experience. Obviously I saw her afterwards. It was pretty funny. It was a lot of excitement. She had a friend in there who still plays juniors, as well, so it was kind of fun to still see the youngsters."