Clijsters did not say where she will continue her comeback, not mentioning any future tournament entries after taking part in Dubai as a wild card
Kim Clijsters says she is going to plough ahead with her tennis comeback despite losing her return match 6-2, 7-6 (8/6) to Garbine Muguruza in the opening round of the WTA event in Dubai.
Four-time Grand Slam champion Clijsters, 36, had been out of the game for seven years before the clash with Muguruza, who reached the final of the Australian Open last month, and is keen to push ahead after an encouraging display against the world No 16 Spaniard.
Clijsters did not say where she will continue her comeback, not mentioning any future tournament entries after taking part in Dubai as a wild card.
Two-time Grand Slam winner Muguruza meanwhile will play one of Veronika Kudermetova and Dayana Yastremska in the next round after having to fight off a determined Clijsters in a tight second set following a simple first.
Wildly impressive play by Kim Clijsters in her first match in more than seven years, pushing Australian Open finalist Garbiñe Muguruza to 6-2, 7-6(6).— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) February 17, 2020
So many vintage Clijsters moments.
Ninth seed Muguruza, 10 years younger than Clijsters, dominated early on as the veteran Belgian played her first official match since the 2012 US Open.
Mother of three Clijsters, who was playing in Dubai for the first time in her career, was on the back foot in the early part of the match, losing serve in the first game of both sets.
She found herself three down after losing her first two service games in the second set after being swept aside in the first but fought back gamely to lead 5-4 after nine games.
However Muguruza took the set to a tie-break and emerged victorious with a service winner on her second match point after nearly an hour and three-quarters on court.
Garbiñe Muguruza defeats Kim Clijsters 6-2, 7-6 (6). But if you didn't know, never would have guessed that Clijsters, 36, had been away from the tour for over 7 years. Still a world-class ball striker. Lots to work on, including her second serve. But lots to feel good about, too— Christopher Clarey (@christophclarey) February 17, 2020
Earlier, Ons Jabeur beat Alison Riske 7-6 (7/3), 1-6, 6-3 to earn a second-round date with top seed Simona Halep.
Tunisian Jabeur, ranked 45 in the world, saw off American Riske amid passionate home support for a player who trains in Dubai.
Barbora Strycova turned a corner after a poor start this season as she defeated US teenager Amanda Anisimova 7-6 (7/3), 2-6, 6-4, winning only her second match of 2020.
The 18-year-old Anisimova managed 43 winners but was weighed down by 67 unforced errors in a struggle lasting just over two-and-a-half hours.
Strycova will face the winner between Su-Wei Hsieh and eighth-seed Petra Martic.