Clijsters wins US Open in mother of all comebacks
Originally published on: 26/02/10 11:43
Kim Clijsters capped one of the most astonishing comebacks of all time by claiming her second US Open title, four years since lifting her first on her last appearance in New York.
The 26-year-old Belgian, who since her 2005 triumph had retired to start a family before returning to the tour just last month, beat No.9 seed Caroline Wozniacki 7-5 6-3 to become the first women’s wildcard to win the US Open.
Clijsters had tears in her eyes as she climbed over to her box to share the moment. It was as if someone had written the script and she had played it out perfectly.
The former world No.1 not only defeated both Venus and Serena Williams on her way to the final, but also maintained her composure to beat the 19-year-old Wozniacki, who has emerged as one of the hottest talents on the women’s tour since Clijsters left the sport in 2007.
Nobody can say that Clijsters hadn’t done it the hard way. As well as facing both of the Williams sisters, she also beat No.14 seed Marion Bartoli, compatriot Kirsten Flipkens and No.18 seed Na Li to become the first unseeded woman to win the US Open, and the first mother to win a grand slam title since Evonne Goolagong Cawley at Wimbledon in 1980.
Despite windy conditions that lead to more errors from both players, the match itself was an entertaining contest.
“Maybe even shes a better player now than she was before” – Wozniacki
Wozniacki, playing in her first grand slam final having never previously been beyond the fourth round, dropped her first service game, but it was the Dane who had the edge in the first set, recovering the break and twice moving a break clear as her more consistent game proved more effective in the wind.
The more attacking-minded Clijsters looked in trouble when she slipped 5-4 behind, throwing a ball away in disgust as she did.
But the 2005 champion, playing at Flushing Meadows this year for the first time since her maiden grand slam win, responded by taking the next three games, breaking to love in game 12 to win the opening set.
Although Wozniacki did not crunble, Clijsters began playing with greater freedom in the second set, and a superb performance in game six gave the Belgian a decisive 4-2 lead.
Clijsters had a reputation for folding under the pressure of the grand spectacle during the early part of her career, but despite slipping 0-30 down in both her remaining service games she battled back, sealing the title with a smash at the net.
I cant believe this happened, Clijsters said of her victory.“This was not really our plan.
Because it still seems so surreal that, in my third tournament back won my second grand slam. Because it wasnt in the plan. I just wanted to come here and get a feel for it all over again, play a grand slam so the start to the next year I didnt have to go through all the new experiences over.
Her husband Bryan Lynch and daughter Jada came on court after the trophy presentation.
Wozniacki was full of praise for the Belgian after her comeback. I think that maybe even shes a better player now than she was before. Its tough for me to say, because I didnt play her before.
“But, I can imagine that she, I mean, she just won a grand slam. Its her third tournament back. What more can I say?