Clijsters routs Pierce in US Open final

New York, September 11:

Belgium’s Kim Clijsters won the US Open women’s singles title with a 6-3, 6-1 victory over France’s Mary Pierce. The fourth-seeded Belgian finally shed the label of one of the best WTA Tour players never to win a major title, needing little more than an hour to dispatch 12th-seeded Pierce. Clijsters, a former world No 1 who had fallen short in four previous Grand Slam finals appearances, wasn’t going to let it happen again. She refused to be intimidated by Pierce’s deep, heavy strokes, and took full advantage of the French’s numerous errors.

Both of Clijsters’s breaks came with the aid of wayward efforts from Pierce, whose first-set effort was littered with 19 errors. But the Belgian wobbled late in the first set, after breaking Pierce for the second time to lead 4-1, punctuating a loose service game with a double fault to let Pierce pull back to 2-4. Clijsters cleaned up her act to win the next two games, wrapping up the set on her second match point.

Pierce had the wrapping on her right thigh, and briefly left the court. She appeared no more comfortable upon her return and Clijsters raced to a 3-0 lead. Pierce was too often left flatfooted at the net, but finally held for 3-1. Clijsters responded by closing out the next game with three service winners for a 4-1 lead, and Pierce helped her to the next game with two more forehand errors. Clijsters delayed her long awaited crown with a double fault that gave Pierce the first of two break points, but Clijsters salvaged them both. She sailed a forehand long on her first championship point, but there was no mistake as she fired an unreturnable serve on her second.