Clijsters Clinches The Season Ending WTA Championships For The 3rd Time




Kim Clijsters

Kim Clijsters

Doha: Belgian Kim Clijsters clinched the season-ending WTA Championships on Sunday with a 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 victory over world No.1 Caroline Wozniacki.

Clijsters, who won the tournament for a 3rd time after her victories in 2002 and  2003, was playing in her first event since winning the US Open in September this year followed by an operation of her right foot to get the mole removed. She pocketed home almost $1.5 million as prize money for winning the title in the capital of Qatar after a match which lasted 2 hours & 20 minutes at the Khalifa Tennis Complex.

“I felt like it was never going to end,” said Kim in a courtside interview just after the match. “It was really a tough battle with some great shots, great tennis and great fitness. I’m glad that I won, obviously it’s disappointing for Carol 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.”

Caroline Wozniacki, who finished the year at the No.1 spot earlier in the tournament, paid respect to Clijsters’ performance in the post match interview. She said “It’s been a fantastic week for me, Kim just played amazing today and she just deserved to win.”

Clijsters had the advantage because she had the more naturally forceful game, remained unaffected by the ups and downs of an unpredictably long battle, and played some of her best tennis manouevres in the final stages.

It was a disappointment for Caroline Wozniacki because she wanted to answer those critics who questioned her status as the world’s No.1 because she has not yet won a Grand Slam. This title would have been the silencer for all, though there were moments when it looked within her reach, and she did display it with her tactical adaptability, and wide court coverage that she has the capacity eventually to win it.

Caroline, who achieved the year end top spot with her 2nd win of the week here said, “I would love to come back here, and I would love to try for this title again.” Wozniacki had to find n number of ways to counter Clijsters’ heavier game, sometimes by coming up to the net more often; also by seeking more angles to keep Kim moving.

There were many good rallies and longer games. It was after one very long game that Clijsters broke finally to win the first set, gaining some momentum to strike again early in the second set. But with defeat looming, Caroline appeared to relax, hitting more freely breaking back for 3-4 and remarkably breaking again to level the match. She also struck back in the final set, levelling at 2-2 after an early setback. But it was her last real surge.

Wozniacki at one point in the match stopped a rally and called for a Hawkeye replay, only to get her call wrong. When she also delivered a double fault 2 points later, it helped Kim make the break for 4-2 which decided the fate of the match.

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Devesh Bhuwad

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