Clijsters wins third US Open

In yet another rousing performance in a US Open final, Kim Clijsters decimated Vera Zvonareva 6-2, 6-1 to win her third title in New York.

Moving swiftly, serving accurately and dominating action off the ground, the Belgian and part-time New Jersey resident set a record for the least amount of time played in dispatching the Russian in 59 minutes (officials began to keep time records in 1980). It was the most one-sided final at the US Open since American Chris Evert smoked Evonne Goolagong 6-3, 6-0 in 1976.

It was a near perfect performance for Clijsters, who found incredible depth and angles off the ground, hammered away with her forehand, kept her backhand sharp and played every big point as if it were her last.

"I'm very excited that I was able to defend my title. It is always an honor to go back to a place, especially a Grand Slam, where you've done well and you've won. You obviously want to bring your best tennis again," Clijsters said. "Obviously tennis wise I knew that if I would bring my best, that I'm capable of beating a lot of the top players."

Zvonareva had beaten Clijsters twice this summer at Wimbledon and Montreal, but could never find enough accuracy off the ground, or the consistency with her serve and returns that led her to an upset of top seed Caroline Wozniacki in the semifinals.

The Russian began the match in fine fashion, trading holds with the Belgian to 2-2, but then the wheels came off. After Clijsters held to 3-2, Zvonareva committed two backhand errors to be broken to 4-2.

Clijsters pushed the Russian around the court in the next game and then broke to win the set when Zvonareva dumped another backhand into the net.

The second set began as badly for Wimbledon finalist Zvonareva as the first set ended. After Clijsters whipped a forehand that the Russian couldn't catch up to, she smashed her racket off the cement three times and broke it, receiving a warning. Zvonareva doubled faulted away the next game and Clijsters easily held to 3-0. Finally, Zvonareva stopped her seven game losing streak when Clijsters inexplicably committed four unforced errors and the Russian held at 3-1.

But even though the Russian slapped her thigh, bounced up and down on her feet and yelled at herself to get moving, she could never find a high level and lost one physical rally after another.

Clijsters fought off a break point with an ace and held to 4-1, then broke Zvonareva again when the Russian double faulted, and finally won the match when she crushed a forehand crosscourt winner.

Clijsters smiled widely and spent a good eight minutes thanking the crowd, her husband Brian Lynch and daughter Jada, and all of her friends and support team.

She finished the match with 17 winners, 10 forced errors and 15 unforced errors, to only six winners, 17 forced errors and 24 unforced errors form the Russian.

Clijsters became the first player to repeat as titlist since Venus Williams since 2001, and given that she won the title in 2005 and didn't play from 2006-2008 due to injury and retirement, she became the first player since Evert to win three titles in three appearances. Evert won four straight between 1975-1978.

"Obviously when I started my U.S. summer, the US Open was my main goal," Clijsters said. "I wasn't playing my best tennis when I wanted to in the beginning. But I was able to lift my game in the last two matches when I needed it to. That's obviously what probably I'm most pleased with over these last 14 days - that I was able to do that."


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