(Reuters) – Former world number one Kim Clijsters’ return to tennis suffered another setback on Thursday when she fell 6-1 2-6 6-2 to Katarina Siniakova in the first round of the Indian Wells tournament.
The 38-year-old Belgian fell into a 3-0 hole in the first set and it appeared the match would be a quick one as Clijsters struggled to find any rhythm with her serve.
But the four-time major champion turned the tables in the second, pounding winners to the delight of the supportive crowd on an overcast day in the Southern California desert.
Momentum shifted back in the Czech’s favor in the fifth game of the decider when Clijsters missed an open forehand on game point that would have put the players back on serve. From there, Siniakova was able to coast to the finish.
Clijsters is now 0-5 since announcing her comeback after her most recent retirement in 2012.
Siniakova, a former world number one doubles player who took home gold at the Tokyo Games playing alongside Barbora Krejcikova, will next face 10th seeded Angelique Kerber, who had a first round bye.
(Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles; editing by Richard Pullin)