Clijsters battles past Venus for final berth
Originally published on: 11/09/10 10:39
Defending champion Kim Clijsters will face Vera Zvonareva in Saturday’s US Open final after coming from behind to beat Venus Williams in their semi-final.
Clijsters recovered from losing the opening set to win 4-6 7-6(2) 6-4 in two hours and 23 minutes on Arthur Ashe Stadium, extending her winning streak at Flushing Meadows to 20 matches.
The second seed won the title in 2005 and then returned to action in 2009 to regain the crown in only her third tournament and 14th match since coming out of retirement.
Williams, who had suffered with a knee injury and hadn’t played since Wimbledon before arriving in New York, served superbly in the opening set, dropping just five points and breaking Clijsters in the seventh game.
But the American was unable to maintain that standard in the second set, twice losing serve to fall 3-0 and 5-2 behind, only for Clijsters to fail to serve out for the set at 5-3.
However, Williams’ serve then completely went to pieces in the resulting tie-break, the 30-year-old serving two double-faults to fall 3-0 behind and failing to win a single point behind her serve.
Clijsters took the tie-break 7-2 to carry the momentum into the decider and it was no surprise when she broke Williams again in the third game as the American netted a simple backhand.
The tension was palpable and Clijsters produced back-to-back double-faults of her own and a woeful drive-volley to gift Williams the break back, only to break again in the next game courtesy of a sublime backhand lob which landed just inside the baseline.
That gave the 27-year-old the chance to serve for the match and she held her nerve to set up a showdown with Zvonareva, who had earlier dominated the day’s first semi-final to beat top seed Caroline Wozniacki 6-4 6-3.