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Clijsters whips Pierce to win US crown

September 11, 2005 08:18 IST
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Belgian Kim Clijsters hammered French 12th seed Mary Pierce 6-3, 6-1 to win the U.S. Open on Saturday and claim her first Grand Slam singles crown.

The fourth seed, who had lost all four of her previous Grand Slam finals, raced to victory in 65 minutes to end Pierce's hopes of becoming the first Frenchwoman to win the title.

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"It's still very hard to believe," said an emotional Clijsters, who missed most of 2004 because of wrist injuries.

"It's an amazing feeling to have and after being out for so long last year, it means so much more."

Clijsters, who has won six other titles in 2005, broke twice to lead 4-1 and though Pierce got one of the breaks back, the Belgian broke again in the ninth game to win the opening set.

The 30-year-old Pierce, who lost to another Belgian Justine Henin-Hardenne in the French Open final in June, made 28 unforced errors and Clijsters romped through the second set to win her maiden Grand Slam.


A netted backhand from Pierce gave Clijsters the perfect start as she broke in the opening game.

Clijsters held serve comfortably and games stayed on serve until the fifth game, when Pierce sent a forehand wide to hand the Belgian a 4-1 lead.

The Belgian's first double-fault gave Pierce one of the breaks back but Clijsters broke again in the ninth game to take the set.

Pierce left the court to have the tape on her right thigh adjusted, but it made no difference as Clijsters raced ahead 3-0 and then clinched victory on her second match point with an unreturnable serve.

As the winner of the U.S. Open series, which rewards the most successful players over 10 hard court events, Clijsters' winning cheque of $1.1 million was doubled to $2.2 million, earning her the largest pay day in women's sport.

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