June 29, 2012 / 8:51 PM / 7 years ago

Clijsters through as ailing Zvonareva retires

Kim Clijsters of Belgium hits a return to Vera Zvonareva of Russia during their women's singles tennis match at the Wimbledon tennis championships in London June 29, 2012. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

LONDON (Reuters) - Kim Clijsters reached the last 16 at her farewell Wimbledon on Friday when Russia’s Vera Zvonareva was forced to retire through illness trailing 6-3 4-3 in their third-round match.

Belgian Clijsters, the former world number one who will retire after the U.S. Open in August, dominated the 12th seed who left the court for treatment after a respiratory infection made it difficult for her to breathe.

Zvonareva, runner-up at the All England Club two years ago, said she had been suffering with the problem for the last four days after retiring on a blustery Court One.

“I had to retire. It was not possible for me to play. You never want to retire during the grand slam, one of the great matches when you are playing a good player. It’s never good,” Zvonareva told reporters.

Clijsters, 29, Wimbledon semi-finalist in 2003 and 2006 and currently ranked 47th in the world, will play German eighth seed Angelique Kerber for the first time in the last 16.

The Belgian, who has been nursing her way back from an abdominal strain, said she had yet to think about her big send- off at the U.S. Open but admitted Wimbledon looked a little different knowing it would be her last.

“There’s definitely been moments where I think like, Oh, I’m going to take a good look around; I’m going to take these emotions in,” Clijsters said.

“It’s fun. It’s nice to be looking at sports in this kind of way.”

Editing by Ed Osmond

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