Clijsters still has plenty to achieve



NEW YORK --- Kim Clijsters seems like somebody who has it all figured out.

She's a mother, a veteran player nearly a decade removed from her first Grand Slam final. Gracious and thoughtful off the court, a two-time reigning U.S. Open champion on it.

But the 27-year-old Belgian can still find fresh experiences and new lessons, and that keeps her focused on the opportunities of the next few years of her career, not thinking about another retirement.

For one, she had never defended a major title before the past couple of weeks.

"A new kind of emotion that I've never really experienced before," Clijsters said hours dominating Vera Zvonareva in the U.S. Open final.

"That was fun to have that change in my career now that I'm a little older and still feel those new emotions."

An inability to stay healthy was part of why Clijsters retired from tennis. She also wanted a family, and since her comeback to the sport just over a year ago, Clijsters has proved you can have both.

Clijsters is now a three-time Grand Slam champion, but because all three titles have come at the U.S. Open, there's plenty she can still accomplish.

"They all motivate you in a different way," Clijsters said of the other Grand Slams after winning again at Flushing Meadows on Saturday night.

The Australian Open is somewhere she believes she can do better. She feels a connection to Wimbledon because her late father always enjoyed his time there. And the French Open seems like home because so many Belgians attend.

Clay is her least favorite surface. Then again, she has twice reached the final at Roland Garros.

"Maybe I should embrace it a little bit more and have that confidence that I have whenever I step on a hard court," Clijsters said.

Record setter

NEW YORK --- Esther Vergeer won her 396th consecutive wheelchair match, defeating Daniela di Toro 6-0, 6-0 to capture the U.S. Open title Sunday.

Vergeer, a 29-year-old from The Netherlands, won her fifth U.S. Open and 16th Grand Slam championship.

She did get pushed this year, defeating Florence Alix-Gravellier 7-5, 7-5 in her first-round match, but Vergeer lost only one game over the next two matches.

-- Associated Press