Clijsters cruises to another crown

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NEW YORK --- From the time she was a teen, Kim Clijsters loved playing on American hard courts. She liked the way she could move on the surface, liked the way she could see the ball.

Kim Clijsters won her third U.S. Open crown Saturday, defeating Vera Zvonareva in straight sets. Clijsters became the 25th woman to win consecutive titles.
  Associated Press
Associated Press
Kim Clijsters won her third U.S. Open crown Saturday, defeating Vera Zvonareva in straight sets. Clijsters became the 25th woman to win consecutive titles.

Her game is now as good as it gets on this stuff.

Clijsters won a second consecutive U.S. Open championship and third overall Saturday night, easily beating Vera Zvonareva 6-2, 6-1 in a final that lasted 59 minutes and lacked any drama.

Clijsters is the first woman since Venus Williams in 2000-01 to win the title in Flushing Meadows two years in a row. And Clijsters' U.S. Open winning streak is actually up to 21 matches because she also won the 2005 title. She missed the tournament in 2006 because of injuries, including wrist surgery, and skipped it the next two years while taking time off to get married and have a baby.

On Saturday, in addition to another silver cup, Clijsters was awarded $2.2 million -- the champion's check of $1.7 million, plus another $500,000 for finishing second in the U.S. Open Series standings that take into account hard-court tuneup tournaments.

"I've always felt more comfortable on this surface. Not just this year, but even when I was 14, 15, 16," the 27-year-old Clijsters said in an interview the week before the U.S. Open began. "Everything comes easier."

After losing the first four Grand Slam finals of her career, Belgium's Clijsters has won her past three.

Not since 1995 has a U.S. Open women's final lasted three sets, and this one wasn't about to end that trend.

Clijsters was too dominant. She compiled a 17-6 edge in winners, and made nine fewer unforced errors than Zvonareva, 24-15.

Clijsters never gave Zvonareva chance to get into this match. It was so lopsided, CBS analyst John McEnroe felt compelled to say: "This might be the most I've ever wanted Kim Clijsters to lose serve. She's such a great person, but this is difficult to watch right now."


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