Kim Clijster has won her 31st title, and her first since Hasselt last year! In the first set Clijsters went up 3-1 but Kuznetsova won three games in a row and took over 3-4. Then it went with serve till 6-5 and Kim Clijsters serving for the set. She fell behind 15-40, but battled her way back in business with a second serve ace to deuce. After some deuces with alternating advantage, Clijsters ended it with a stunning forehand, having already missed a set point with an erratic smash: hit with the frame and going into orbit I think.
1st set stats Clijsters/Kuznetsova
1st serve: 65% – 68%
Aces/DF’s: 2/1 – 0/0
Winners/U.E.’s: 11/11 – 11/17
Breakpoints; 2/5 – 1/4
A close set, but Clijsters was in the driving seat.
In the secnd set Clijsters took over completely, while Sveta Kuznetsova played her well-known aggressive game but committed too many Unforced Errors.
Clijsters started with a break but was broken right away to 1-1. Then she went up till 4-1 before Kuznetsova could break her again 4-2, while she lost all her serve games. Clijsters won the next two games and served it out after some deuces, hitting her 3rd ace at the right moment.
Match statistics: Clijsters/Kuznetsova
1st serve: 58% – 61%
Aces/DF’s: 3/3 – 2/2
Winners/U.E.’s: 21/18 – 25/35
Breakpoints; 6/10 – 3/8
Total points: 74 – 58
It shows that Kim Clijsters played a very solid secnd set with 10 winners for only seven unforced errors (two Double Faults). Sveta had 14 winners against 18 Unforced Errors, so Kim Clijsters’ balance was clearly superior. Sveta Kuznetsova going too much for winners and failing IMO.
A pity for Sveta Kuznetsova, who played her third final here in a row: she lost 2004 against Venus Williams, 2005 against Justine Henin-Hardenne, and now in 2006 against Kim Clijsters.
But an excellent clay court start for Kim! The FedCup on clay must have helped her anyhow, and her semifinal against Elena Dementieva (with big rallies) was a perfect preparation for her final against Sveta Kuznetsova.