Clijsters wins Sydney International

Updated: 22 March 2007 06:37 IST

Kim Clijsters began her retirement year with a victory, beating Serbia's Jelena Jankovic 4-6, 7-6 (1), 6-4 in the Sydney International final on Friday.

Clijsters wins Sydney International

Sydney:

Kim Clijsters began her retirement year with a victory, beating Serbia's Jelena Jankovic 4-6, 7-6 (1), 6-4 in the Sydney International final on Friday. Third-seeded Clijsters, who is expected to retire at the end of 2007, broke a nine-match winning streak by Jankovic, who won the Auckland WTA title last week. Clijsters, who had to save a match point in the second set Friday against Jankovic, beat Australian Open No 1 seed Maria Sharapova in a Hong Kong exhibition tournament last week. Earlier on Friday, defending men's champion James Blake cruised into the Sydney final in a walkover when Austria's Jurgen Melzer could not start his semifinal due to illness. In a scheduling quirk, the third-seeded Blake will go for the title against Spain's Carlos Moya - his first-round opponent at the Australian Open next week. Moya, who survived a three-setter against Marcos Baghdatis on Thursday night, had to go the distance again to beat Frenchman Richard Gasquet 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 as temperatures hit 38 degree Celcius on Friday afternoon. Melzer, blaming a batch of bad sushi, said he was so sick to his stomach that he needed an intravenous drip. He had doubts about his fitness for the Open. "At the moment, there's no way I could play," Melzer said. "I hope that somebody from upstairs looks down on me and gets me ready." Flurry of withdrawals Melzer is the seventh player this week to either withdraw or retire from a match in Sydney, and Lleyton Hewitt was a late withdrawal with a calf muscle injury. Women's No 1 Justine Henin-Hardenne withdrew due to personal reasons that also will keep her out of the Open. No 3-ranked Nikolay Davydenko was fined 10,000 on Thursday by the ATP for "unsportmansmanlike conduct" after saying nobody cares about the tournament, a traditional warmup for the Open, the season-opening Grand Slam event. Davydenko retired with a foot injury after losing the first set of his opening match, saying he was not overly concerned about the smaller tournaments. Rafael Nadal, Paradorn Srichaphan, Dmitry Tursunov, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Nadia Petrova also pulled out of the tournament citing either injury or illness. While Blake criticized Davydenko's comments, he suggested the sport needs an injection of entertainment to improve its image after 383 withdrawals from tournaments last year - a trend that ATP chairman Etienne De Villiers has described as "unacceptable madness".

Topics : Tennis Andy Roddick Lukas Dlouhy Rohan Bopanna Leander Paes Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi Maria Sharapova
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