12 Sep 2010


Sep. 11 • A day after an epic semifinal win over Venus Williams, Kim Clijsters blitzed Vera Zvonareva in prime time for her third US Open title, continuing her love affair with Flushing Meadows and the city that never sleeps.

Clijsters, the No.2 seed, had squeaked past No.3 seed Williams on Friday night, 4-6 7-6(2) 6-4, and on Saturday was completely in her prime against No.7 seed Zvonareva, avenging defeats in their last two meetings with a 6-2 6-1 triumph. She won seven consecutive games from 2-2 in the first set and barely looked back, ending it with her 17th winner - a ferocious crosscourt forehand.

Clijsters had lost her last two meetings with Zvonareva, both this year - including a quarterfinal loss at Wimbledon. "The one at Wimbledon was one of the most disappointing losses I've dealt with in my career. In a way I was excited to play her again to get revenge. I learned some things from that match. That game at 3-1 in the second set was a longer game and was a very important game for me to win, because I just didn't give her that small chance to get back into the match. That was a big game for me to finish it off there."

The win was Clijsters's 21st straight at the Open, the second-longest winning streak here in the Open Era, trailing only Chris Evert's 31. There was also another streak she extended: Clijsters has now won nine straight against Top 10 players, her last loss coming to Jelena Jankovic at Toronto last year.

A year ago, Clijsters made a scintillating return to the Open - in her first Grand Slam back after over two years of retirement, she went al the way to the title.

"Last year, people were still curious to see how I was playing; this year, people knew with my history here I was maybe one of the contenders. I wasn't playing my best tennis at the beginning of the tournament, but I was able to lift my game in the last two matches, when I needed to. That's probably what I'm most pleased about over these last 14 days, that I was able to do that."

Zvonareva was in her second Grand Slam final, her first coming just two months ago at Wimbledon, where she won five games against Serena Williams.

"It was a great honor to be in the finals of the US Open and play in front of the New York crowd. Kim just played a very good match. She didn't give me chances to get into the match. I tried my best. I gave 100%."

Clijsters consoled a visibly upset Zvonareva after receiving the winner's trophy.
"You're a great player", she told the Russian in front of a sold-out crowd. "Keep it going. It'll happen. It took me six of seven finals until I got my first one."

"Kim's a great champion, but also a great person. Because she said that, maybe I'm not so disappointed now", Zvonareva said about Clijsters's comments at her press conference.
"Hopefully I'll have another chance. Hopefully I'll go far in another Grand Slam. Hopefully I will be more experienced."

(via www.wtatour.com)

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