Former world number one Kim Clijsters said she knew her return to tennis would not be “a smooth ride” after losing in the first round of the Indian Wells Masters.
The Belgian lost to Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic 6-1 2-6 6-2.
Four-time grand slam winner Clijsters was playing just her second tournament of the year following knee surgery.
The 38-year-old also suffered a first-round exit at last week’s Chicago Fall Tennis Classic.
Clijsters returned to action in February 2020 after retiring – for a second time – in 2012. But her comeback was curtailed by injury in October 2020.
“Last week in Chicago I started off well but had a few games where I really wasn’t into the match,” she said.
Clijsters took the second set at Indian Wells before Siniakova again took control.
“I fought my way into the match well in that second set, and I kind of put her under pressure a little bit better. Overall there’s definitely moments where I’m feeling really good out there, and there’s moments where I feel too inconsistent,” Clijsters said.
“That’s part of this process in general, it’s not going to be a smooth ride and that’s what I’m going to try to improve every time I’m out there.”
Siniakova will next face 10th seeded Angelique Kerber.