Mauresmo wins 2nd Diamond Games
Mauresmo moved closer to taking the world's top ranking when she beat current leader Kim Clijsters 3-6 6-3 6-3 in the final.Updated: Feb 20, 2006 15:37 IST
Amelie Mauresmo won her second Diamond Games championship and moved closer to taking the world's top ranking when she beat current leader Kim Clijsters 3-6 6-3 6-3 in the final.
Mauresmo took hold of the game in the third set of a gripping match— a rare head-to-head tournament final between the world's top two players— to win her third straight tournament.
Her 15th straight match win also took Mauresmo a step closer to taking home the tournament trophy— $1.2 million gem-encrusted racket awarded to any player who wins the Diamond Games title three times in five years.
Mauresmo was allowed to hold the racket but not keep it.
"Kim played very well at the start and it took me a while to get into the game, to get back even," Mauresmo said. "We both gave it our maximum."
The Frenchwoman gained momentum after going up 4-2 in the final set, taking advantage of errors made by Clijsters, who was tiring fast due to the intense pace.
"I had the chance to do it, but I came a bit short and I felt it in my legs," Clijsters said.
The Belgian, playing in front of her hometown crowd, moved to take control of the first set quickly at 4-1, and seemed to be playing her best tennis since injuring her right ankle at the Australian Open. Antwerp was her comeback after three weeks on the sidelines.
Clijsters battled hard for every point, pushing Australian Open champion Mauresmo in some tense and stunning volley showdowns.
Mauresmo readily took advantage of Clijsters' erratic play and the Frenchwoman evened the match 1-1 after the second set.
It was their 13th meeting and Clijsters' second straight loss to Mauresmo. In their last meeting, in the Australian Open semifinals, Mauresmo downed the Belgian in three sets after Clijsters withdrew due to her ankle injury.
First Published: Feb 20, 2006 15:37 IST