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The Apple of New York’s Eyes: Clijsters Triumphs Over Wozniacki at US Open

mdp_1588This was not the script that one would have written two weeks ago.  Fortunately for us, Kim Clijsters had her own pen for a rewrite.  A couple of months after getting back on tour, Clijsters reached the U.S. Open final and defeated 19 year-old Caroline Wozniacki 7-5, 6-3 becoming the first wildcard entry to win a major.

Although this was Wozniacki’s first final at a major, the Dane almost pulled off the role of spoiler. After Caroline dropped serve her first time out to give Kim a 2-0 lead, on her fifth break chance, she captured her first game.  Then through her tenacity, Wozniacki compelled a crosscourt backhand error from Kim to break for a  3-2 edge. After teetering on the brink, Wozniacki double faulted to level the set at 4 all.  However, the very next game, Caroline’s defensive skills helped her rally from 0-40 and break again for 5-4.  But, serving for the set, Wozniacki faced another break point when Clijsters produced a forehand winner.  The Dane was unable to exterminate that one as her forehand up the line sailed long and evened out the set.  Unable to capitalize on two break chances, Wozniacki subsequently made four unforced errors to wrap up the set for Clijsters.

After being miserly the first five games of the second set, with neither woman dealing with a break point, two forehand winners and a backhand mistake by Wozniacki provided Clijsters triple break point.  When Caroline’s backhand landed long, Clijsters went ahead 4-2.  Then, after staring at 0-30, Kim made a couple of good serves and winners which permitted her to consolidate for 5-2.  Despite a tough hold, Wozniacki forced Clijsters to serve for the championship. A tad nervous perhaps, Kim made two forehand booboos to go down 0-30.  Once Clijsters regrouped, with an ace and two forehand winners, she closed out the set to claim her second major and U.S. Open title.

Post match, Clijsters admitted that this run had been dream.  That she “was glad to defend [her] title from 2005″.  According to Clijsters, the support from fans and family had been invaluable in pushing her to fight harder.  Without a doubt, that was a key to Kim’s victory over Marion Bartoli, Serena and Venus Williams. Furthermore, Clijsters became the first mother since Evan Goolagong in 1980 to prevail at a major. With this result, Clijsters earns a spot in the top 20.

It wasn’t a bad fortnight for Wozniacki as she became the first Danish player to compete in the finals of a major.  Caroline’s current number 9 ranking will be boosted.  Moreover, with youth on her side, the possibilities are infinite for Wozniacki.

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