Mauresmo wins diamond racket

Updated: 22 March 2007 06:37 IST

Amelie Mauresmo won a 1.3 million dollar diamond-studded racket trophy, beating Kim Clijsters 6-4, 7-6 (4) in the final of the Diamond Games.

Mauresmo wins diamond racket

Antwerp, Belgium:

Amelie Mauresmo won a 1.3 million dollar diamond-studded racket trophy, beating Kim Clijsters 6-4, 7-6 (4) in the final of the Diamond Games. The victory also spoiled Clijsters' farewell match before a massive home crowd of 14,500 at the Sports Palace. The 23-year-old Belgian has said she will retire at the end of the season and Antwerp was her last tournament in Belgium. Mauresmo won the tournament for the third time in a row, enough to keep the four kilograms of gold and 1,702 diamonds, which goes to the first three-time winner in any five-year span. "I said all week I didn't think about it, but honestly I thought about it the whole week," Mauresmo said. "I tried too play it down, but it is important." The gleaming racket amounted to one-tenth of the tour earnings she amassed in her 12-year pro career. The world's third-ranked player was much more enterprising with her moves to the net while Clijsters, fourth in the rankings, never got her serve working. "The important point is to play your best against the best," Mauresmo said. Mauresmo got her match point on a disputed ace, turning her celebrations afterward in a muted affair, accompanied by the boos of the fans. Clijsters came over to give her a hug at the end and replays showed the point appeared to be good. "There is no better champion than you. I admire you in so many ways," Clijsters said. The match was played in front of frenetic home fans, all trying to help Clijsters to victory throughout the one hour, 48 minute match. Clijsters emotional Clijsters cried when local crooners Clouseau serenaded her career, which included a US Open title in 2005, a No 1 ranking in 2003 and several Grand Slam near misses. Her schedule beyond Wimbledon is unclear - except that she will marry American basketball player Brian Lynch. "I am yearning for my wedding day," Clijsters said. Mauresmo has won her last five matches against Clijsters, including last year's Diamond Games final. Despite the incessant cheers for the Belgian, Mauresmo broke through at the first occasion in the opening set to the take the initiative and never let go again. With her blend of top spin drives, frequent rushes to the net and lethal volleys, she had moves Clijsters could never match. The Belgian's a rusty serve helped Mauresmo, even though Clijsters would often hit the lines on her groundstrokes. However tight it was, it always was a hopeless chase. Even in the decisive tiebreaker, Clijsters' serve and straying backhands let her down. With a strong serve, Mauresmo won her first set point after 47 minutes, and immediately afterward hit another one that Clijsters failed to handle properly. Mauresmo pumped her fist in celebration, knowing the racket was only one set away. The second set immediately handed the initiative to Clijsters. The Belgian won a love game and Mauresmo conceded hers on a double-fault. Clijsters failed to consolidate her advantage and gave away the next game, sending wide the simplest of forehand volleys. From then on, the two held serve to set up a tiebreaker, leaving Mauresmo one game short of the diamond racket. She raced to a 4-1 lead, but Clijsters fought back to 4-4 before falling victim again to her unforced errors.

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