US Open champion Kim Clijsters was at a loss as to why her game completely fell apart in her 6-0, 6-1 thrashing by Nadia Petrova in the Australian Open third round on Friday.
Clijsters was one of the favourites, both sentimentally and form-wise for the year's opening grand slam at Melbourne Park, but she was taken apart in 52 minutes by the 27-year-old Russian.
“I was completely off. Just, I think tennis-wise, I didn't feel the ball at all,” Clijsters said. “It sucks. It's something you don't want to happen too often.
Clijsters has adopted a meticulous approach to her training and travel and decided to cut back on the number of tournaments since she returned. She said the build-up for the Australian Open was exactly as planned.
“I'm very superstitious with my routines and everything, so I really stick to that every day.
“That's why I'm a little bit confused in a way as well, why something like this happened. I ate the same, slept the same, everything... I really have nothing else. I don't know what more it could be.”
Henin reaches another milestone
Justine Henin reached a special milestone at the Australian Open when she beat Russia's Alisa Kleybanova 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 in a third round encounter on Friday.
The victory was the Belgian's 500th, putting her in an elite club of tennis professionals and still firmly in the spotlight at the first grand slam of the year.
Juan Martin Del Potro, Andy Murray and Andy Roddick all won their round matches with relative ease and the trio were joined in the fourth round by John Isner.
Nadal sweats but wins
Rafael Nadal saw off another challenge to his title defence at the Australian Open on Friday.
Second seed Nadal defeated German Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-4, 6-2, 2-6, 7-5 with the straightforward win propelling the Spaniard into the fourth round and a 5-0 mark over his opponent after three and a half hours.
“It was a very close match,” said an exhausted Nadal.