It turns out Kim Clijsters' final Wimbledon won't have a storybook ending. The veteran was ousted by rising star Angelique Kerber, who controlled the entire match en route to a 6-1, 6-1 victory.
Clijsters, who will retire after the U.S. Open later this summer, has won four major championships during her storied career. None of them have come on the famous grass courts of the All England Club, however. She never reached the finals at Wimbledon.
Injuries have held her back in recent years, stopping Clijsters from asserting herself as one of the sport's biggest threats. The one advantage she had over just about every player on tour was on the mental side. When most others crumbled under the pressure, she would rise.
That wasn't enough to overcome fading physical ability, though. And that ultimately caught up to her against Kerber.
Clijsters did perform at a high level for the first three rounds, knocking off two seeded players in Jelena Jankovic and Vera Zvonareva. Neither of those big names have been playing on the same level as Kerber, who still hasn't dropped a set in the tournament.
Perhaps the high-profile victory will finally earn the 24-year-old German some worldwide respect. She has now made the quarterfinals of the last two Grand Slam events and previously made the semifinals of the U.S. Open last year.
Add in the fact she's seeded eighth at Wimbledon and this result shouldn't be much of a surprise. Kerber was on top of her game from the first ball and never gave Clijsters a chance to fight her way back into the match like she has so many times before.
Kerber finished the match with 19 winners and just five errors. She converted five of nine break points and didn't face a single one on her own serve. She even showed off her versatility by coming to net 12 times and earning 11 points.
It's that type of all-around ability that makes her a sleeper in the suddenly wide-open women's bracket. The elimination of Maria Sharapova gives Kerber a much easier path to the finals, which will feature Sabine Lisicki in the quarters and either Agnieszka Radwanska or Maria Kirilenko in the semifinals.
So while Clijsters' elimination will be the main story to come out of this match, don't forget about Kerber. She's capable of running the table.
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