Tennis-Clijsters too good for Wozniacki in Doha

Reuters

Sun, 31 Oct 20:06:00 2010

* Clijsters wins Championships for third time

* Tournament moves to Istanbul next year (adds quotes, details)

Belgian Kim Clijsters stole the limelight from new world number one Caroline Wozniacki with a battling three-set victory in the season-ending WTA Championships on Sunday.

Clijsters, who won the tournament for a third time after her victories in 2002 and 2003, pocketed almost $1.5 million in prize-money for winning the title in the Qatari capital.

The 27-year-old was up against an opponent seven years her junior but did not look a step off the pace, battling Wozniacki tooth and nail to seal a 6-3 5-7 6-3 win in a match lasting two hours, 20 minutes at the Khalifa Tennis Complex.

"I felt like it was never going to end," the beaming Belgian said in a courtside interview.

"It was a really tough battle with some great shots, great tennis and great fitness. I'm glad that I won, obviously it's disappointing for Caroline but I don't know how many more years I'm going to keep doing this so.

"She has a great future ahead of her."

Playing in her first tournament since winning the U.S. Open in September following an operation to remove a mole from her right foot, Clijsters came out all guns blazing, breaking Wozniacki in the first game before building a 4-2 lead.

Matching Wozniacki's power from the baseline but bringing that little bit of shot-making imagination the 20-year-old Dane lacks, Clijsters secured the first set when her opponent sent a forehand far and wide.

Clijsters looked in complete command at 3-1 up in the second set, but wobbled. Wozniacki buckled down and battled back to level the match and with a spring in her step looked favourite to win the decider and cap a storybook season.

Clearly Clijsters was not reading from the same script.

Leading 3-2 in the deciding set she heaped unbearable pressure on the Wozniacki serve and won what proved to be a pivotal sixth game with a scorching forehand that gave the Dane no chance of returning.

Clijsters held serve at 4-2, as did Wozniacki, leaving the Belgian to serve out the match.

Wozniacki paid tribute to Clijsters and said the best player on the day had won.

"It's been a fantastic week for me," said the Dane. "Kim just played amazing today and she deserved to win."

The prestigious tournament moves to Istanbul for the next three years.

 

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