Hingis comeback shows plenty of promise - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hingis comeback shows plenty of promise

By Guy Hand 25/01/2006 09:58:28 PM Comments (0)

In the end, Martina Hingis' Australian Open comeback wasn't quite the fairytale, but any sequel will be well worth keeping an eye on.

The former world No.1's irresistible march back to the game she dominated through the late 1990s ended at the quarter-finals at Melbourne on Wednesday.

But not before Hingis showed in her 6-3 2-6 6-4 loss to Kim Clijsters she had the potential to gatecrash the top 10 if she decides to pursue her comeback beyond her next scheduled tournament - the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo starting on Monday.

"Losing to Kim today gives me so much to look forward to," Hingis said.

"It was a tight match, after all she is number two in the world."

Hopes of a new world tennis order featuring the former world No.1 looked grim as Clijsters raced to a 4-0 first set lead after twice snapping Hingis' serve.

Hingis then pulled herself back into the match, dominating the second set and having her chances to win in the third, before Clijsters' match toughness told and she closed out the decider.

But Hingis was upbeat about her performance in her first Grand Slam tournament since the 2002 US Open.

"I made the last eight and all the others are former world No.1s or top 10 players - and I'm one who was in the final draw," Hingis said.

"You know if you can make the final eight, you definitely have the belief."

Hingis' return to competitive tennis started just last month at the Gold Coast, where she reached the semi-finals.

Then world No.8 Justine Henin-Hardenne whipped her in the first round at the Sydney International, leaving the jury out.

But Hingis' performance against Clijsters certainly convinced the Belgian she can again be a factor in a game in which power has become more dominant than in her heyday.

"I think she may even be better now," Clijsters said of Hingis.

"She definitely hits the ball a lot harder than she used to when I played her previous times."

There was more than a touch of irony in that by beating a former world No.1, Clijsters became the world No.1 after previously top ranked Lindsay Davenport crashed out in her quarter-final.

Clijsters will officially take over top spot when the post-Open rankings are announced Monday.

Hingis is likely to find herself moving up from her current No.349 to somewhere just outside the top 100.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2023 AAP

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