Clijsters defeats world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki

Kim Clijsters ended the season on a high after triumphing over world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki to claim her 40th career title at the WTA Championships in Doha.

The US Open champion prevailed 6-3 5-7 6-3 to be crowned champion of the year-ending event for the third time - eight years after her first victory - and the first player since Steffi Graf to win the title three times.

Regardless of the result, Wozniacki had already guaranteed to end the year as the top-ranked women's player after claiming six titles on the WTA Tour, but having failed to reach a grand slam final this season, the Dane was desperate to prove her mettle in major tournaments.

But she immediately found herself on the back foot as Clijsters came out with ominous intent - forcing Wozniacki to save three break points, and she was powerless to stop the fourth as Clijsters snatched an early break. Wozniacki showed impressive fight to break back to level, but Clijsters pulled away again to seal the opening set.

The Belgian grabbed the match firmly with both hands after an early break in the second, but with the trophy within sight, Clijsters seemed to lose concentration and Wozniacki pounced. Her relentless pressure was rewarded with a break to force the match to a deciding set, and she carried her momentum firmly into the third set with an early break to take the lead for the first time in the match.

However, with the prospect of an unwanted comeback on her hands, Clijsters soon rediscovered her focus and rediscovered the powerful ground shots which saw her dominate the opening set, and she broke back before serving out to love.

Clijsters' combination of power and accuracy proved deadly, and despite a wobble in the final game - producing two double faults as she served for the match - she wrapped up the victory after a thrilling final in front of the Doha crowd.

"At the moment I'm kind of relieved it's over," Clijsters said. "It seemed like it would never end. It was a tough battle - great tennis, great fitness as well and I think we showed the crowd some really good women's tennis tonight. I'm glad that I won but obviously it's a bit disappointing for Caroline, but I don't know how many years I'm going to keep doing this and she has a great future ahead of her."

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