Clijsters, Hingis advance easily to third round

Thursday, January 18, 2007

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Kim Clijsters extended the winning start to her farewell tour, beating Akiko Morigami 6-3, 6-0 Thursday to reach the third round of the Australian Open.

The 23-year-old Belgian, who has announced she is retiring at the end of this season in the hope of starting a family, recovered from an inconsistent opening set to run through the second in 24 minutes.

She started the year with a win over Maria Sharapova in the final of a Hong Kong exhibition tournament and last week won the Sydney International.

Recently engaged Martina Hingis, into the second year of her comeback after three seasons on the sidelines, had a 6-2, 6-2 win over Russian Alla Kudryavtseva to move closer to a quarterfinal rematch with Clijsters.

Clijsters blamed her slow start on a late night, staying up to watch Frenchman Gael Monfils upset last year's finalist Marcos Baghdatis on Wednesday.

"I went to bed maybe a little too late," she said. "But I'm playing well."

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