That's how Kim Clijsters described how she was feeling after being comprehensively destroyed 6-0, 6-1 in the Aussie Open third round by Nadia Petrova. It was a 52 minute drubbing that left the U.S. Open champ and the Rod Laver Arena crowd stunned.
The Belgian hit a measly 5 winners against 29 UEs while her Russian foe ended with 15 winners and 10 UEs. And even though she had a 58% success of first serves, she only won 21% of the time when she had to throw in a second delivery. Double OUCH.
Afterwards, Kimmie could offer little to explain the dismal performance:
Q. Are you wracking your brain about why?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Of course. It's something that you know as an athlete that can happen once in a while. Like I said, once in a while, once a year, hopefully not more than that. But, uhm, yeah, the question is of course, Why? My coach, my fitness coach, are like, How can something like this happen?
We haven't changed anything really. That's the thing. That's probably the most frustrating thing about this. But then again, what is more frustrating: playing like this or getting beaten when you play your best? I lost because it was my fault.
My opponent, okay, she was better, but I didn't give her, you know, the best Kim out there today. And I think ‑‑ 'cause that's even more frustrating, knowing you get beaten at your best. That's probably even more frustrating.
I wish I could have brought that today because then I know I would have had a better shot at this.
Q. Have you felt like this before?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I'm sure it's happened before, you know, that I felt like I really couldn't hit the ball, like I wasn't hitting the ball well, that I wasn't feeling well out there. But obviously not in the last few years, I don't think so.
Q. With this game, do you burn the tape, forget it happened?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, this is something probably you want to forget as soon as possible and go home and, you know, just let it sit, get settled at home for a few days and then start working hard again and try to forget about it. Just stick to the routines. Everything I've been doing so far with my coach, my fitness coach, everything has been going really well. I'm going to try to not let a match like this get me down or start doubting myself or anything.
I've played some good tennis here, especially last week in Brisbane. I think that's what I want to try to take away from this trip. It's too bad it didn't happen here in Melbourne.
UGH. It's one thing to lose in the third round of a major. It's a whole other thing to do it against Nads with a score like 6-0, 6-1. Kimmie was completely out of sorts and dismantled in a tourney she was the co-fave to take, which I think caused this lackluster performance. The expectations were high here, unlike her winning run to the U.S. Open crown where she came in as a wild card and only hoped to do her best. She always had difficulties being a favorite, a front runner and it seems those demons may still be lurking somewhere. She'll be smart to forget this bad loss and look forward to the rest of the season.
In terms of the draw, Justine Henin looks to have a clear path to the semifinals now that both Kimmie + Elena Dementieva are out of that section. If she makes it there, she's slated to meet second seed Dinara Safina, whose path was cleared a bit after eighth seed Jelena Jankovic was upset by Alona Bondarenko today. The Russian will have to get by a streaking Maria Kirilenko, though, in the fourth round and the winner of A-Bon + Jie Zheng in the quarters (not a sure bet these days.)
Oh yeah, one more thing: I think we can stop calling Kim's return a 'comeback' now. She's been officially welcomed back. Thanks Nads.