Cincinnati:Former world number one Kim Clijsters made a triumphant return to tennis on Monday, defeating France's Marion Bartoli in straight sets in her first match in more than two years.
Clijsters, who retired in May of 2007 and gave birth to a daughter in February of 2008, defeated 12th-seeded Bartoli 6-4, 6-3.
The ebullient Belgian advanced to a second-round clash against Switzerland's Patty Schnyder, a 6-4, 6-0 winner over Argentina's Gisela Dulko.
Clijsters showed no sign of rust as she raced to a 4-0 lead, displaying a solid serve as well as the canny ground game that was her trademark.
Clijsters, who held the world number one ranking for 19 weeks in 2003 and won the US Open in 2005, weathered the storm as Bartoli steadied to win four straight games, the Belgian putting away an opening set in which she notched 14 winners to Bartoli's two.
In the second set, Clijsters fended off a break point in the fifth game to hold for a 4-1 lead, and she fought back from 0-40 down to serve out the match.
Clijsters' return was the highlight of the opening day of the two million-dollar tournament. But She wasn't the only former world number one in action.
Serbia's Ana Ivanovic rallied after dropping the first set and shrugged off a rain delay of nearly two hours to beat American Melanie Oudin 2-6, 6-1, 6-1.