US Open - Clijsters romps to US Open title defence
Eurosport - Sun, 12 Sep 02:32:00 2010
The 27-year-old Belgian is now unbeaten in an incredible 21 matches at Flushing Meadows, also winning the title in 2005 and 2009 while missing the intervening three years due injury and retirement.
"It's been an incredible year, being back in the Open and for the first time I'm able to defend my title," Clijsters said at the trophy ceremony.
"A little bit of experience definitely helps. (Zvonareva) has improved so much. Vera just keep it going, it will happen."
The final promised so much between defending champion Clijsters and the Russian, who had progressed to the championship match without dropping a set and who was playing in her second straight Grand Slam final.
And the early stages of the clash looked set to deliver on that promise as both players traded comfortable service holds.
But despite starting the match in a relaxed fashion, even sharing a joke with former champions Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert at the coin toss, Zvonareva suddenly tightened up and gifted Clijsters an opening break with a forehand long.
And from there the Belgian barely looked back.
Gaining even more confidence from the break of serve, Clijsters quickly moved to consolidate her lead by stepping inside the baseline and belting an off-forehand winner across court after a lengthy rally before breaking for a second time to seal the set with another ferocious cross court forehand that Zvonareva could not answer.
Clijsters, who herself lost four Grand Slam finals before picking up her maiden win in New York five years ago, consolidated her lead early in the second set by grabbing a break in the second game when Zvonareva slapped down a double fault.
The Russian, buoyed by vocal support from the New York crowd, finally stopped the rot in the fourth game to hold and attempt a brief rally in momentum.
In fact Zvonareva almost fashioned a comeback enjoying a break back point in the very next game. But the chance did not last long as Clijsters produced an ace out wide before going on to hold with another forehand drive volley winner across court.
Clijsters quickly righted the ship and broke for a second time in the sixth game when Zvonareva served another double fault, despite saving the Belgian's first chance with an ace.
The Russian earned a second break back point whilst Clijsters was serving for the match but once again the chance went begging with a backhand down the line from Zvonareva.
That minor wobble over and done with, Clijsters struck a forehand winner down the line on her first match point to become the first woman to win back-to-back US Open titles since Venus Williams in 2001.
"Kim just played tremendously well today. She deserved to win," said the emotional Russian, who burst into tears at the end of the match.