Kim Clijsters’ first WTA Tour match in eight years ended in defeat to Garbiñe Muguruza at the Dubai Duty Free Championships.
At 36, the Belgian is 10 years Muguruza’s senior as well as a mother of three and her last match action came at the 2012 US Open. It had been her second retirement, having spent two years out of the game from 2007 – aged 23 – to 2009.
Drawn against the ninth seed and this year’s Australian Open runner-up, Clijsters battled well after an understandably slow start but was beaten 6-2, 7-6 (6) in an hour and 37 minutes.
Clijsters served five double faults as she lost a 32-minute first set and when she went a break down in the second it looked like being a short-lived first outing on her latest return.
But she levelled at 4-4 and saved two break points in the next game to set up a tie-break. However, the Spaniard had too much in the tank and took it 8-6 to advance to a last-16 tie with either Veronika Kudermetova or Dayana Yastremska.