Kirsten ("Flipper") Flipkens (/ˈflɪpkənz/; born 10 January 1986 in Geel) is a Belgian professional female tennis player. Her WTA career-high singles ranking is World No. 13, which she achieved in August 2013. She had success as a junior, winning the Girls' singles title at the 2003 Wimbledon Championships, and the 2003 US Open. Since then she has won one WTA singles title, 12 ITF singles titles, and one ITF doubles title. In 2012, she developed life-threatening blood clots which drastically reduced her ranking. Her comeback led to her best grand slam performance at the 2013 Wimbledon Championships, where she reached the semi-final, losing to the eventual champion, Marion Bartoli. On the 22nd of December 2013, she won the award for Sportswoman of the Year in Belgium.
At the 2006 French Open, Flipkens was playing her first ever Grand Slam tournament. She reached the second round. She also reached the second round in the 2006 US Open after qualifying, falling to eventual semifinalist Jelena Janković. For Wimbledon 2006 she partnered then British no. 2 Andy Murray in mixed doubles. That same year, she lost two singles matches and the decisive doubles match in the Fed Cup final against Italy.
Kirsten Flipkens at the 2009 US Open
In 2009, Flipkens reached the second round of the Australian Open and the French Open. She defeated no. 30 Ágnes Szávay to reach the second round at Wimbledon, where she faced Elena Baltacha. Flipkens beat the British wildcard in straight sets to set up an encounter with top seed Dinara Safina and a place in a Grand Slam third round for the first time in her career. She lost to the Russian, after having a set point in the first set, 5–7, 1–6. At the 2009 US Open, she reached the third round, after victories in straight sets over Dokic and Anabel Medina Garrigues. She suffered a defeat in the third round, losing to compatriot and eventual champion Kim Clijsters, 0–6, 2–6. In October 2009, she again defeated Garrigues to reach the quarterfinals of the Luxembourg Open.
At her next Grand Slam, the 2010 Australian Open, Flipkens lost in the first round to another unseeded countrywoman making a comeback, Justine Henin, 4–6, 3–6. At the 2010 French Open, she beat Japan's Ayumi Morita in the first round, 6–1, 6–4. Maria Sharapova beat her in straight sets in the second round. In the week before Wimbledon, she reached the semifinals of the UNICEF Open, a WTA tournament on grass at Rosmalen, where she lost to Andrea Petkovic. At Wimbledon 2010, she lost in the second round to Yanina Wickmayer. She had been troubled by a recurring wrist injury and underwent surgery at the end of the 2010 season.
In April 2012, doctors discovered blood clots in her calf, which prevented her from playing for two months. During this time, her ranking dropped to no. 262 and she lost her funding from the Flemish Tennis Association (VTV). She returned to the tour at Rosmalen, where she beat Samantha Stosur in the first round and reached the semi-finals. She qualified in singles for the 2012 US Open and made it to the second round, where she was defeated by eventual finalist Victoria Azarenka. She also partnered with Kim Clijsters in doubles, but they were beaten in the first round. In September 2012, she won the Bell Challenge in Quebec for her first WTA title, after wins over top-seeded Dominika Cibulková, Mona Barthel and Lucie Hradecká, among others.
In October, she participated in the Generali Ladies Linz tournament, where she won through qualifying and got into the main draw. She then defeated Alizé Cornet in the first round, a qualifier in the second round, and 2nd seed Ana Ivanovic 6–4, 6–0 in the quarterfinals. Ultimately, she lost in three sets to Julia Görges in the semifinals. This result brought her to a career-high 58th position on the WTA rankings. During this month, Clijsters announced that she would help her as a part-coach. In December 2012, Maxime Braeckman became her new coach full-time coach, but she will continue to work with Clijsters as well.
To prepare for Wimbledon, Flipkens participated in the Aegon Classic in Birmingham. Top-seeded of the tournament, she was free from the first round. In the second round, she beat qualifier Ajla Tomljanovic 4–6, 6–4, 7–5. She lost 7–6 (5), 6–2 to Magdalena Rybarikova in the third round. A week later, Flipkens was at the Topshelf Open in 's-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands. She advanced to the final but was ultimately beaten by Simona Halep.
Flipkens played at Wimbledon as the 20th seed having not even played in the qualifiers the previous year due to her low ranking. She exceeded expectations by advancing to the semi-finals of a major for the first time in her career, beating former champion Petra Kvitova in three sets in the quarter-finals. She lost 1–6, 2–6 to Marion Bartoli in the semi-final.
She reached a career high of 13th in the world in August 2013.
At the US Open, she was the twelfth seed. However, she was beaten in straight sets in the first round by two-time champion Venus Williams.
Won tournament; or reached Final; Semifinal; Quarter-final; Round 4, 3, 2, 1; competed at a Round Robin stage; lost in Qualification Round; absent from tournament event; played in a Davis Cup Zonal Group (with its number indication) or Play-off; won a bronze, silver (F or S) or gold medal at the Olympics; a downgraded Masters Series/1000 tournament (Not a Masters Series); or a tournament that was Not Held in a given year.
To avoid confusion and double counting, these charts are updated either at the conclusion of a tournament, or when the player's participation in the tournament has ended.