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Clijsters caps fairytale return with women's title

Belgian Kim Clijsters defeated Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark 7-5, 6-3 to win the US Open title. Clijsters, aged 26, became the first mother to win a grand slam crown since Evonne Goolagong triumphed at Wimbledon in 1980.


AFP - Kim Clijsters of Belgium won the US Open for the second time on Sunday, defeating Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark 7-5, 6-3 to complete one of the most stunning comebacks in modern sports history.

In so doing, she became the first mother to win a Grand Slam title since Australian Evonne Goolagong in 1980 and the first wildcard, man or woman, to win a US Open title in the history of the tournament.

The win came just five weeks after she returned from a 27-month retirement and it left her on her knees and in tears after smashing home the winner at the net.

"I don't have words for this," Clijsters said. "I am just glad I could come back and defend my title from 2005.

"I just wanted to start these three tournaments to get back into the rhythm of tennis so I have to thank the USTA (United States Tennis Association) for giving me a wildcard to come back here.

"Winning the first one helped me to keep my nerves at the end."

"Now it will be really exciting to go home and live the family life again"

Wozniacki paid tribute to Clijsters saying: "She is such a great girl.

"I am so excited that she came back. She played a great match and deserves the trophy."

The 26-year-old Clijsters won her only Grand Slam title here in 2005 after losing four finals, three to compatriot Justine Henin and one to Jennifer Capriati of the United States.

She was unable to defend the title the following year as she was injured and then in May, 2007, she rocked the tennis world by retiring, saying that she had had enough of injuries and the tennis lifestyle.

In her time away from the sport, she married and had a baby daughter and it was only at the start of the year that she started to consider a comeback.

That came in Cincinnati in early August, and Flushing Meadows was just her third tournament since she returned.

True to form, Clijsters, who defeated sisters Serena and Venus Williams on her way to the final, opened strongly, holding serve and then grabbing the first break of the match to lead 2-0.

The 19-year-old Wozniacki, playing in her first Grand Slam final, counter-attacked to break back in the next game, converting her fifth break point with a raking forehand drive that Clijsters failed to control.

The Dane held serve and then broke again as Clijsters struggled to contain her opponent's length and variety of shot.

With her 18-month old daughter Jada watching in the players' box as well as husband Brian Lynch, Clijsters had three break back points to level at 3-3 but failed to take them.

Wozniacki, like Clijsters the daughter of a professional footballer, kept up the pressure and drew mistakes from the Belgian to set up two more break points for a 5-2 lead.

Clijsters dug deep to close to 4-3 and in the next game she stepped into the court to send Wozniacki onto the back foot and the Dane double faulted on double break point.

The former world No. 1 looked set to take a 5-4 lead, but Wozniacki scrambled her way back into the game and stunned the Belgian by breaking her serve for a third time in four attempts.

She served for the first set, but again Clijsters went on the offensive to level at 5-5.

Wozniacki had two further break points in the 11th game, but this time Clijsters steadied to take a 6-5 lead.

She then broke Wozniacki's suspect serve for a fourth time wrapping up the first set in 54 minutes.

In stark contrast to the opener, games went with serve in the second set until the sixth game, when Clijsters set up triple break point and she made no mistake by banking the first of them for a 4-2 lead.

Clijsters held serve to lead 5-2, but had to serve out for the match as Wozniacki made it 5-3.

She set up match point and drove Wozniacki wide with another big forehand. The Dane scrambled the ball back, but Clijsters dashed in to the net to hit home the title-winning smash.

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