Kim Clijsters officially returned to the top of the women's rankings on Monday, despite suffering defeat in the final of the Paris Open to Petra Kvitova.

Almost five years after she last ruled the women's game, Clijsters cemented her place as world No. 1 by reaching the semi-finals in France. However, a neck problem limited her chance of beating Kvitova in Sunday's final.

"I had a little bit of a neck problem but it's not an excuse. She deserved to win," commented Clijsters.

The Belgian had been world No. 1 three times previously, but 256 weeks had passed since her last rise to the WTA Tour pedestal. Newly dethroned rival Caroline Wozniacki can take heart that Clijsters' last three reigns have lasted a cumulative total of only 20 weeks, but she nevertheless deserves huge praise for becoming the first mother to rule women's tennis.

20651 - Neck problem takes shine off Clijsters coronation

WTA chief executive Stacey Allaster said: "It is incredible that five years have passed since Kim was No.1, but the fans of women's tennis are incredibly lucky to have her back and playing the best tennis of her career. To be able to excel on the court while being a working mother is truly commendable."