Kim Clijsters smashes poor Zvonareva for 3rd US Open title

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The Independent Online

Kim Clijsters today successfully defended her US Open title with a one-sided victory over Russia's Vera Zvonareva in a disappointing final at Flushing Meadows.

Wimbledon runner-up Zvonareva had not dropped a set in reaching her second consecutive Grand Slam final but produced an error-strewn display as Clijsters claimed her third US Open crown with a 6-2 6-1 win in exactly an hour.

The 27-year-old Belgian has now won 21 consecutive matches in New York, having triumphed in 2005 and then come out of retirement last year to win the title again in just the 14th match of her comeback.

Clijsters said: "A little bit of experience definitely helps. I told Vera it's tough when you lose but I think it took me six or seven finals before I finally got one.

"She has improved so much, I told her to keep it going, you're a great player, it will happen."

After the first five games went with serve, Clijsters broke for a 4-2 lead and then again to take the opening set 6-2 in just 27 minutes.

Zvonareva's frustration boiled over at the start of the second set as she went 40-0 down in Clijsters' first service game, the 26-year-old receiving a code violation after repeatedly smashing her racket into the ground behind the baseline.

Another break of serve helped Clijsters race into a 3-0 lead - a run of seven games in succession - before Zvonareva finally began to show a few signs of life.

She held serve to reduce the deficit and then forced a break point in the next game, only to see Clijsters save it with her first ace of the match and edge further in front.

That ended any faint hopes of the match becoming a real contest and it was no surprise when two double faults from Zvonareva saw her lose serve for the fourth time.

Clijsters did have to save another break point but ultimately served out for a surprisingly easy victory, winning 10 of the last 11 games.

Zvonareva said: "Kim just played tremendously well today she deserved to win. Even though I'm disappointed at the moment I still love New York."