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Clijsters makes winning start to 2010

Clijsters began the New Year with a convincing straight sets win in Brisbane.
Clijsters began the New Year with a convincing straight sets win in Brisbane.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • U.S. Open champion Kim Clijsters starts 2010 with 6-2 6-1 win over Tathiana Garbin in Brisbane
  • Clijsters is bidding for back-to-back grand slam wins at the Australian Open later this month
  • Fellow Belgian Justine Henin makes comeback at same tournament on Monday
  • Spain thrash United States 3-0 in their opening match at the Hopman Cup in Perth
RELATED TOPICS
  • Australia
  • Tennis
  • Andy Murray
  • Justine Henin

(CNN) -- Belgium's Kim Clijsters began her 2010 campaign in fine style with a 6-2 6-1 win over Italy's Tathiana Garbin in the first round of the WTA tournament in Brisbane on Sunday.

Clijsters made a sensational return to competitive tennis last summer, capped by her U.S. Open triumph, and is building up to the opening grand slam of the year in Melbourne on January 18.

She dropped her service in the opening game and looked shaky on the overhead but was pleased by her preparation for the season.

"The smashes could have been a bit better but I'm really happy I came to Brisbane because it makes the transition to Melbourne easier," she told the official tournament Web site.

Clijsters quickly recovered her composure to close out Garbin in just 53 minutes to earn a second round match against home favorite Alicia Molik.

But on Monday, the focus of attention will turn to Cljisters' Belgian compatriot and arch-rival Justine Henin, who is also coming out of retirement ahead of the Australian Open.

Former world number one Henin will play second seed Nadia Petrova of Russia in a tough early test of her capabilities.

I'm really happy I came to Brisbane because it makes the transition to Melbourne easier
--Kim Clijsters

She has been out for 18 months after a shock retirement in 2008 and was granted a wildcard by tournament organizers, who have assembled a strong line-up.

Another feature match on Monday sees Australia's Jelena Dokic take on former world number one Ana Ivanovic on Pat Rafter Arena.

In Sunday's action in the Hopman Cup, Tommy Robredo and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez gave Spain a 3-0 win over the United States in Perth.

Robredo beat John Isner 6-7 6-3 7-6 after Sanchez saw off American Melanie Oudin 6-4 6-4.

They then combined to win a mixed doubles against the same opponents to complete the sweep in the international team competition.

In Group A, Spain and Romania now have 1-0 records while Australia, who lost to Romania 2-1 on Saturday, and the U.S. are 0-1.

The top teams in each group meet in next Saturday's final with Britain, led by world number one Andy Murray in action for the first time on Monday against Kazakhstan, while Germany take on Russia in Group B matches.

Murray has skipped the ATP event in Doha, where Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are playing and where is was defending champion, to play in the Hopman Cup.

Murray told reporters that he felt playing in Doha again would have harmed his Australian Open hopes.

"It's a bit to do with the heat but also jetlag," Murray said.

"Because I played well in Doha I finished on Saturday night ... and didn't arrive in Australia until Tuesday morning or late Monday evening."

Murray is paired with 15-year-old hope Laura Robson in Perth.