Victory for Kim Clijsters at last year’s US Open was one of the most remarkable success stories of recent tennis history.
But the Belgian, ranked three in the world, today finds her role reversed as she takes on underdog Ana Ivanovic at 4.05pm in the fourth round at Flushing Meadows.
The second seed is the clear 2/7 favourite to win the match, with Ivanovic, who is unseeded for the tournament, a 5/2 chance.
12 months ago it was Clijsters who, after making a comeback to the sport following motherhood, was the unseeded rank outsider, but having won three times on the WTA Tour this year she is one of the players to beat.
The same would not have been said of Ivanovic at the start of the US Open. The Serbian has not won all year and is ranked only 40th in the world.
But convincing straight-set wins over Ekaterina Makarova, 21st-seed Jie Zheng and Virginie Razzano show the 22-year-old is close to rediscovering the form that won her the 2008 French Open title and world number one spot. Another 2-0 victory is 5/1.
3/1 tournament favourite Clijsters has been equally impressive, though, dropping just 11 games so far, bettering the 13 games lost by Ivanovic. And having won both their previous encounters, it’s understandable that Clijsters is 8/11 to win 2-0.
But as the Belgian showed last year anything is possible at Flushing Meadows and the carrot of making it into the quarter finals for the first could be just the inspiration Ivanovic needs to topple her close friend 2-1 (5/1).
Such an upset would see Ivanovic’s price to win the whole event come plummeting downwards – she is currently a tempting 16/1 chance.
Two-time champion Clijsters won’t let her crown go without a fight and even if she loses the first set, the 27-year-old has the resolve to win the match – that’s a 5/1 shot.