Clijsters wins battle with Wozniacki to take Doha title
World number three Kim Clijsters battled to the season-ending WTA Championships title on Sunday night defeating world number one Caroline Wozniacki 6-3 5-7 6-3.
The Belgian, 27, claimed the crown for the crown for the third time in her career, playing her first tournament since her US Open triumph in September.
Clijsters dominated the opening exchanges with an attacking strategy and heavy groundstrokes. She managed to avoid Wozniacki’s lethal backhand and broke Dane three times to take the set 6-3.
A champion in 2002 and 2003, Clijsters built on her success to break for a 3-1 lead in the second set. There seemed to be no repercussions of the foot injury that had kept her out since Flushing Meadow as she tracked down all Wozniacki could throw at her.
It appeared Clijsters was cruising to another landmark title until a nervy service game at 4-3 enabled Wozniacki to pounce and level the set at 4-4. Suddenly the world number one seized the initiative and broke at 5-5 following a string of unforced errors from the tiring Clijsters to serve out the set 7-5.
The momentum shifted again as Clijsters found her range again and fired a selection of blistering groundstrokes down at the helpless Wozniacki.
Despite finding herself 15-40 down when serving at 5-3 for the Championships, the reigning US Open Champion dug deep to survive three break points and serve out the match.
“I’m kind of relieved because it seemed like it would never end,” said Clijsters. “It was just a great battle, great fitness and I think we showed the crowd some great women’s tennis.
“I’m glad I won and it must be disappointing for Caroline, but I don’t know how many more years I’m going to keep doing this.”
On the other hand, Wozniacki is yet to register a win against the top Grand Slam achievers on the WTA in Clijsters, the Williams sisters or Henin. Consequently there are shadows of doubt over the validity of Wozniacki’s No1 ranking.
The 20-year-did miss an opportunity on Sunday to assert herself as the leader of the pack but it is clear the Dane has the potential to copy the likes of Clijsters and win Grand Slams.
Clijsters agrees and was extremely supportive of Wozniacki, adding: “She will win a Grand Slam. She is too good of a player not to.
“She’s young, she’s number, she just has to keep working the way that she has been working. She’s been doing really good things, and the good things will keep coming then.”
Wozniacki added, “She played really well, especially in the important moments. Definitely the experience mattered a little bit today.”