Clijsters offers sympathy to Safina after whitewash win over Russian

The contrasting directions in the careers of "Aussie Kim" and "Aussie Ana", two of the crowd favourites at the Australian Open, were underlined by their performances here yesterday.

Kim Clijsters, who has been popular with the Australian public ever since she was engaged to Lleyton Hewitt, justified her status as the bookmakers' choice to win the title when she inflicted an embarrassing 6-0, 6-0 defeat on Dinara Safina, a fellow former world No 1 and the beaten finalist here only two years ago.

Ana Ivanovic, who has relatives in Melbourne and used to go out with the Australian golfer Adam Scott, was in the final here 12 months before Safina. The 23-year-old Serb's fall has not been as spectacular as the 24-year-old Russian's, but a recent mini-revival was stopped in its tracks when she was beaten 3-6, 6-4, 10-8 by Ekaterina Makarova, the world No 49.

Ivanovic has not gone past the fourth round of a Grand Slam event since winning the French Open three years ago. Clijsters, in contrast, has won two Grand Slam titles since making her comeback in 2009 following a two-year break from the game. The 27-year-old Belgian was far too strong for Safina, but had sympathy for the Russian, especially after her own meltdown here 12 months ago, when she was beaten 6-0, 6-1 by Nadia Petrova in the third round. Safina, who was world No 1 less than two years ago, has dropped to No 75 in the rankings and could fall out of the top 100 after her latest humiliation.

"I do feel bad," Clijsters said afterwards. "At 5-0 in the second set she hit a couple of backhands down the line and I even caught myself saying: 'Yeah, that's it.' When she doesn't play against me I'm rooting for her because I want her to get back into it and build confidence."

Safina, who was beaten 6-0, 6-1 by Marion Bartoli in Hobart last week, fought back tears at the end of the match and admitted: "I didn't know how to win a point. There was nothing I could do to hurt her."

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral