Clijsters sinks Serena, enters US Open final
Comeback queen Kim Clijsters produced a massive upset to defeat title holder and tournament favourite Serena Williams 6-4, 7-5 in the US Open semi-finals.sports Updated: Sep 13, 2009 18:25 IST
Comeback queen Kim Clijsters produced a massive upset to defeat title holder and tournament favourite Serena Williams 6-4, 7-5 in the US Open semi-finals on Saturday.
The match had a chaotic ending with Williams handed a point penalty for verbally abusing and threatening a lineswoman who foot-faulted her to set up match point.
Williams had earlier drawn a warning for smashing her racquet to the ground after losing the first set. The second warning was an automatic point penalty, which just happened to come on match point.
"I said something and I guess they gave me a point penalty and unfortunately it was on match point," she said.
"Clearly in all this year I've never, never been foot-faulted and suddenly in this tournament they give me foot faults.
"I'm not saying I don't foot fault, but it was what it was.
"I've never been in a fight in my whole life so I don't know why she would feel threatened.
"I'm clearly not happy."
Clijsters, who looked stunned by the finish, became the first wildcard, man or woman, to reach a US Open final and the first mother to reach a Grand Slam final since Australia's Evonne Goolagong in 1980 when she won the Wimbledon title.
"I was trying to stay focussed for the match and was facing the other way," Clijsters said.
"I saw Serena talking to the linesman, but I was too far way to hear what she was saying so I can't really comment on what was happening out there."
Clijsters will take on Caroline Wozniacki in Sunday's final after the 19-year-old Dane defeated Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium 6-3, 6-3 in the other semi-final.
The highly-anticipated matchup of the tournament favourite and the young mother who only returned to competition in early August after taking two years out to marry and have a baby finally got underway at after 9:00 pm, over a day late following 48 hours of rain in the New York area.
The Arthur Ashe Stadium court was far from full with many fans having trudged off home after waiting in vain for hours in the damp, cool conditions to see some action.
Clijsters was quickest out of the blocks holding serve in the opening game of the match before putting some pressure on a heavy-footed Williams on her serve.
Games went with serve until 3-2 to Clijsters when a light drizzle started to fall once more, but play continued with both players looking tentative and unsure of their footing, espcially the American.
Williams promptly dropped serve to 15 with a double fault and three unforced errors doing the damage.
But falling behind appeared to be just the wakeup call 11-times Grand Slam winner Williams needed as she turned on the power in the next game to break back immediately.
Clijsters held to love in her next service game, forcing Williams to serve to stay in the set at 4-5 down.
A forehand slapped into the net gave Clijsters a first set point and she took that when Williams mis-hit a backhand again into the net, smashing her racquet to the ground in disgust immediately afterwards and drawing a code violation.
It was the first set she had lost in the tournament.
Williams came back out after the changeover trying to get herself pumped up and a series of big groundstrokes had Clijsters on the back foot, helping the American to break serve in the first game of the second set.
But she gave that back right away double-faulting on break point and muttering to herself "I can't believe it."
Clijsters, whose only Grand Slam title win came in New York in 2005, held serve to lead 2-1, but two games later she was broken for the third time as Williams dominated the rallies with her heavier shot-making.
Williams saved three break points in the following game but on the fourth one Clijsters took control and levelled at 3-3.
She held her own serve from 0-30 down and then held three break points in the next game for a 5-3 lead only for Williams to produce big serves when she needed them most.
But four games later, Williams was in trouble on serve again and this time she cracked under the pressure after the foot fault to set up match point.