Somewhere, oblivious to all of us, the most unbelievable script had already been written beforehand. For if few believed she would get past Venus Williams in the fourth round, then even fewer had expected her to overcome the formidable Serena in the semis. But there she is standing today in a Grand Slam final which is just her third tournament since her 28-month hiatus.
Kim Antonie Lode Clijsters Lynch is riding on her own destiny, as she became the first player to defeat both Venus and Serena Williams at the same tournament since her compatriot, Justine Henin, did it in 2007. Henin that year went on to win her career’s second U.S. Open; Clijsters is now just one win away from emulating that feat.
But Rohini Iyer thinks otherwise.
Kim is out to prove "Once a champion, always a champion." She is trying desperately to make up for the lost time as she could never return to New York as the defending queen. What could have been done three years ago, is being done now and done absolutely in style.
Which is why she is now on a 13-match unbeaten streak at the Big Apple, proving that the sabbatical had not managed to diminish her desire and hunger even one bit.
In her third U.S. Open final, she needs just one victory against a very talented and rising teenager, Caroline Wozniacki, who has reached her first-ever Grand Slam final.
Will Win If...
It’s the battle of the best old defensive player vs the best new defensive player. Both having similar styles of play, the match will feature long baseline rallies—a scenario where Clijsters immediately thrives. Against Serena, Clijsters won the majority of four- or four-plus-shot rallies. Against the great Dane, it would be no different.
Kim Clijsters has an incredibly fluid movement on the court. She possesses an unbelievable speed and athleticism and has a mind-blowing interception power.
With her astounding angles and pin-point placement and spin, she has always continued to frustrate her opponents and undoubtedly she would employ the same tactic in the final as well.
The Belgian’s backhand has been working like magic, so effortlessly she has been slicing the ball. The slice and the low dip wrecked havoc against Venus as well as Serena and against Caroline too she would definitely bring on her marvellous slices into play.
Apart from all this, Clijsters had been very effectively using exceptional lobs and deft dropshots even when pushed thoroughly back to the baseline—something which is good enough to unsettle any of her opponent.
Even though unseeded, Clijsters would be the heavy favourite being a past champion and the New York atmosphere and crowd would be a factor working in her favour as Wozniacki is completely a novice at the big stage.
Also the fact that Clijsters had beaten four seeded players so far to reach the final while the Dane had disposed off only two seeds, readily tilts the balance towards the former champion.
Will Lose If...
Wozniacki’s net-play has been improving by leaps and bounds and Kim must remember to prevent Caroline from approaching the net at her will.
The Danish teen has already defended her New Haven title, giving ample evidence to the fact she can really play on Deco-Turf. By patiently waiting for her opponent to commit errors and with a lot of determination, she has showed that she is fast developing into the big-league player of the next generation.
Wozniacki’s confidence is growing day by day and now that she has already become the first Dane—man or woman—ever to reach a Grand Slam final, she actually has nothing to lose.
Clijsters looks extremely fit and is presenting an incredibly poised self, absolutely ready to taste her second Major success.
Shots To Look Out For
Clijster’s graceful slice backhand will be a pure delight to watch and her magnificent splits still draw the "oohs" and "aahs" from the crowd.
Common sense would like to predict a straight sets victory for the ever-smiling Belgian but since both present a strikingly similar play, the match might just go to the distance in favour of the comeback mummy.
Margaret Court had shown it, Evonne Goolagong had done it and Lindsay Davenport had predicted it even before the affable Belgian came out of her retirement.
Destiny is beckoning the 26-year-old...
Wait to witness that very special moment...