Saturday, September 10, 2005

Hail Kim Clijsters, U.S. Open champion!

Tonight, in her fifth Grand Slam championship try, Kim Clijsters of Belgium completed one of the great comebacks in women's tennis by defeating Mary Pierce in straight sets to win the U.S. Open. Clijsters was out almost all of last year with a wrist injury. At one point, she was told by her doctors that she might not ever play tennis again. A second surgery was successful, and Clijsters returned to the tour and began sweeping major tournaments.

During the recent hardcourt season, she won the U.S. Open Series (Pierce came in second), which meant that she would collect double prize money at the U.S. Open. Since she won the Open, she collected $2.2 million, the largest purse in the history of tennis.

I have been a big Clijsters fan for several years, but my choice to win the Open was Lindsay Davenport. Last year, Davenport went on a hardcourt tear and won the U.S. Open Series, but suffered an injury during her semifinal match and was defeated by the eventual champion, Svetlana Kuznetsova. This year, she was injured and had to sit most of the U.S. Open Series out; at the last minute, she entered the Pilot Pen tournment and won it. Perhaps she just wasn't ready--she lost her U.S. Open quarterfinal to Elena Dementieva, a good player, but one Davenport should have beaten.

Very disappointed to see Davenport eliminated (she lost the Wimbledon final to Venus Williams in a heartbreaking thriller), I felt somewhat conflicted about the final because I am also a Mary Pierce fan, and Pierce--like Davenport--is an older player whose retirement may not be that far away. Nevertheless, I am thrilled to see Clijsters finally win a Grand Slam. Not only is she an outstanding tennis player and sometimes breathtaking athlete (she is known for the "Clijsters splits"), she is also a delightful sports personality.

Unfortunately, I was not able to watch the match on television. I tried to watch a Webcast, but was unable to get the software to work on my notebook computer, which I am using exclusively while I wait for cable service to return to my part of Louisiana. Those who saw the match say that the best part occurred when it was over: Clijsters scaled a wall and walked on the railing to get to her family in the stands.

6 Comments:

yeah Kimmy! The match was pretty much like the last three, four women's finals. Two sets, neither extremely competitive. Watching Kim walk that railing like a tightrope was definitely the most tense part. Since she won the US Open Series, she got double the prize money--$2.2 million. That's a serious payday. And you're lucky you didn't have to listen to Dick Enberg's creepy commentary. At the end, Kim asked to speak and hold the mike, and he laughed and said, "can I hold you?" Eww.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:15 PM  

That's almost as repulsive as Al Trautwig's lying on the ground next to Maria Sharapova while she read a book. I think that was at last year's Open.

Kim is so likeable, it's hard to imagine any tennis fan not being happy for her. I'm glad to have been a Clijsters fan way back when.

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