Clijsters upsets Davenport to win Bank of the West

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The Independent Online

Kim Clijsters won the Bank of the West Classic on Sunday, beating the uncharacteristically sluggish Lindsay Davenport 6–4, 6–7 (5), 6–1.

Third–seeded Clijsters broke Davenport, who overhit a forehand on match point, for her fourth career win and first of the year. Afterward, she shook her fists in victory.

Second–seeded Davenport, appearing in her fourth straight final match in the hard–court tournament, struggled midway through first set after losing a serve that regularly exceeded 161 kph (100 mph) at the start.

Clijsters, meanwhile, gained momentum when a few favorable line calls helped put her up 4–1. The 18–year–old Belgian held on to claim the set under sunny summer skies.

Both players held serve throughout the second set, but the crowd at Stanford's Taube Family Stadium solidly took Davenport's side. One enthusiastic and loud fan drew laughs by shouting 'C'mon Big D!"

Davenport, boosted by the attention, took the tiebreaker and was awarded with a standing ovation by the crowd.

But Clijsters broke her American rival three times to go up 4–1 in the third, and the match was all but over. Davenport at times flipped her racket end–over–end in frustration.

Clijsters, known for her third–set battle with Jennifer Capriati in the French Open final, broke Davenport again to end it after one hour and 50 minutes.

"I just felt like I wasn't 100 percent there," Davenport said. "I felt like my return was pretty awful through the whole match and I really couldn't get anything going."

It was the first time Clijsters had defeated 25–year–old Davenport in their five meetings this year. Davenport easily dispatched her 6–1, 6–2 in their last meeting, at Wimbledon.

Davenport, the fourth–ranked player in the world, had advanced to her fourth straight Bank of the West title match by defeating good friend Monica Seles 6–4, 6–2.

In each of the previous three years, Davenport faced Venus Williams in the final of the hard–court tournament – winning in 1998 and 1999, before losing to Williams last year.

But top–seeded Williams, playing in her first tournament since Wimbledon, lost to Meghann Shaughnessy in the quarterfinals on Friday.

Clijsters, ranked No. 6 in the world, defeated fifth–seeded Shaughnessy 6–3, 2–6, 6–1 in their semifinal on Saturday night.