Kim Clijsters suffered an almighty scare in her quest to become world No. 1, fighting back from a set down to beat Kristina Barrois at the Paris Open.

19451 - Kim Clijsters survives major fright in Paris

Clijsters will usurp Caroline Wozniacki as the leading player in the women's game if she reaches the semi-finals this week, but that dream appeared to be vanishing quickly when Barrois roared through the first set. However, Clijsters recovered her composure to triumph 4-6 6-2 6-0.

World No. 78 Barrois made all the early running, forging into an early 4-0 lead. Clijsters served like a player hampered by injury, and whenever she sliced towards her opponent's forehand side, Barrois took full advantage, as she did with a beautiful forehand pass down the line for her second break of the contest.

Clijsters began to show signs of recovery towards the end of the first set, fighting back to 3-4, but Barrois held on to silence the French crowd.

Normal service was eventually restored in the second, with Clijsters taking a much more aggressive approach to secure three breaks of serve. Barrois still threatened, accepting one of three opportunities on the Belgian's serve, but she was now very much on the back foot.

The third set became a formality, with Clijsters breaking immediately en route to a bagel finish.

Elsewhere, sixth seed Andrea Petkovic had to dig deep to defeat fellow German Angelique Kerber 7-5 3-6 6-2, while Yanina Wickmayer booked her place in the last 16 with a 7-6(1) 6-2 win over Elena Vesnina.

Sweden's Sofia Arvidsson is also through after a 6-2 7-6(5) victory over Alize Cornet.